Pope Francis leads Palm Sunday service, bounces back from illness

Pope Francis leads Palm Sunday service, bounces back from illness
Опубликовано: Tuesday, 04 April 2023 09:04

Pope Francis led a Palm Sunday Service the day after he was discharged hospitalized following a bout with bronchitis. He urged the world’s leaders to better care for the sick, lonely, and the poor.

As Francis, a white open-topped vehicle with a white roof, was driven to St. Peter’s Square, thousands of people waved palms and olive branches.

"I want to thank you for your participation, and for your prayers which have intensified over the past days. Thank you," he stated at the conclusion of the service, referring to his recent illness. He received loud applause from the crowd.

After experiencing breathing problems, the pope, who is now 86, was admitted to Rome’s Gemelli hospital. He was quickly treated and then returned to his Vatican residence.

To allay any concerns regarding his health, the Vatican announced that he would participate in an array of Easter events this week. This is the busiest period on the Roman Catholic Church calendar. It will begin with an open-air Palm Sunday service.

As he addressed the crowd of 60,000, the pontiff in red vestments spoke clearly and calmly. He sat for most of the service, but stood to bless the crowd at the end.

He urged people to not ignore the suffering and isolation of those in great pain in his homily.

Their numbers are staggering today. He said that entire populations are being exploited and left behind; the poor live in our streets while we ignore them. Migrants are not faces anymore, but numbers. Prisoners are disowned and people are written off as "problems".

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The pope spoke at the conclusion of Mass and, as he does often, reminded "the battered peoples of Ukraine" and asked the faithful to pray for an ending to the war.

WAVING TO THE CROWD

Francis, who celebrated the10th Anniversaryof his Pontificate in March, has had a few ailments over recent years. He uses a cane and a wheelchair for his public appearances.

Because of his mobility issues, he is unable to participate in some events. Last year, a senior cardinal celebrated actual Mass.

The ceremony was over, and the pope was taken slowly around the square for approximately 10 minutes. He smiled and waved at all the well-wishers, and was in good spirits.

Antonio Donatelli, a tourist hailing from southern Italy, said that he was happy to see him, and given what had happened in the last few days, he seems quite healthy.

Palm Sunday is the date that Jesus rode into Jerusalem to the cheers and applause of the crowds. This was the week before Christians believed he had risen from the dead after his execution on the Cross.

Francis will be celebrating Holy Thursday Mass in Rome’s juvenile prison. However, it is not clear if he will participate in the Good Friday Via Crucis (Way of the Cross), which takes place around Rome’s Colosseum.

The pope, who is the head of nearly 1.4billion Roman Catholics around the globe, will preside at the Easter Sunday Mass. This is the most important day in the Christian liturgical year. He will read his "Urbi et Orbi", which means "to the city and to the world" message.

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