Vatican: Pope OK to leave hospital, eat pizza, baptize baby

ROME (AP) — Doctors cleared Pope Francis to discharge him Saturday from a Rome hospital where he was being treated for bronchitis, the pontiff spent an evening eating pizza with medical staff and baptizing a baby in the children’s ward, the Vatican said. .

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in one of several updates Friday that Francis would be in St. Peter’s Square for Palm Sunday Mass at the start of Holy Week, though he did not say whether the pontiff would deliver a homily. Especially long service.

The medical team following Pope Francis confirmed the discharge on Saturday after evaluating the results of the tests conducted today and the positive medical recovery, Bruni said in a written statement Friday night.

Francis, 86, was hospitalized at the Gemelli Polyclinic on Wednesday, where doctors said the pontiff was receiving intravenous antibiotics to treat his bronchitis.

Bruni said earlier in the day that the pontiff’s medical condition was “normal,” adding that on Thursday evening, “Pope Francis had dinner and pizza with everyone who helped him during these days of his hospital stay.” Nurses, attendants and Vatican security personnel.

Given that the pope has returned to the Vatican hotel where he lives, the spokesman said he is expected to be in the square for the Palm Sunday Mass that formally begins Holy Week, which ends with an Easter Mass in the square on April 9.

Medical staff decided to hospitalize him on Wednesday after he returned to the Vatican home following his weekly public audience in St Peter’s Square. The Vatican said he had experienced difficulty breathing in the previous days.

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The Vatican said on Thursday that his condition had improved “significantly” as a result of antibiotic treatment for bronchitis.

In a video released by the Vatican, Francis was seen baptizing the baby, who was just a few weeks old in hospital.

After the mother tells Francis that the boy’s name is Miguel Angel, the Pope uses a commonly used metal hospital tray to hold needles to pour water on the sleeping child’s head, then tries to comfort the child. He pushed the Pope’s hand away.

Francis asked his mother to dry his son’s wet forehead. Then he said to her: “When you go to your parish, say that the Pope baptized him.”

Francis was smiling as he handed out large, wrapped chocolate Easter eggs to children being treated at Gemelli for cancer.

Earlier in the day, Francis sent out a tweet on Friday inspired by his current health challenge.

“While experiencing faith, the trials and difficulties of life help to purify our hearts, make them humble and open more and more to God,” Francis wrote. The tweet featured a hashtag emphasizing the liturgical year of Lent and sacrifice ahead of the joyous church celebration of Easter, which marks the Christian belief that Jesus rose from the dead after his crucifixion.

The Vatican seemed eager to quickly dispel concerns about the pope’s fitness to fully perform his duties. Shortly after the date of Francis’ excommunication was announced, the Vatican announced that the pope would meet with the prime minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina in a private audience at the Apostolic Palace on Monday.

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Palm Sunday Mass usually attracts tens of thousands of faithful, including many pilgrims from abroad, who come to Rome for Holy Week.

Francis has already stopped celebrating Mass on major Catholic holy days because of chronic knee problems, but has presided over ceremonies and given liturgies.

Holy Week meetings include the Stamina-Vari Cross procession marked by Good Friday prayers at the Colosseum in Rome and the Easter Mass on April 9. Peter’s Basilica.

During Wednesday’s hour-long public audience, Francis appeared in pain at times as he moved and was assisted by aides.

In July 2021, Francis underwent surgery at Gemelli Polyclinic due to a narrowing of his colon. As a teenager in Argentina, Francis had part of a lung removed.

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