Last week, Pope Francis was admitted to a hospital in Rome as he was encountering respiratory issues. A day after being released from the hospital, the pontiff participated in Palm Sunday mass, which is celebrated by Christians all over the world before Easter. The pope opened the Palm Sunday mass after arriving in St. Peter’s Square, where over 30,000 people were present. He offered his gratitude to the faithful who prayed and participated especially during the past few days. He also provided a special blessing for a charity mission named Caravan of Peace, which recently went to Ukraine from Italy. The pope said that they are not only providing necessities but also creating a close relationship between Italians and those suffering in Ukraine and also promoting peace.
The Guardian reports:
Pope Francis has celebrated Palm Sunday mass in St Peter’s Square a day after leaving hospital where he was treated for severe bronchitis.
Francis, 86, arrived in the square, in which more than 30,000 people had gathered, onboard the popemobile. The vehicle stopped by the ancient obelisk in the centre of the square for the pontiff’s blessing of the palms before transporting him to the altar.
He opened the mass with “a weak and slightly breathless voice”, Italian media reported.
In his homily, he called on the faithful to “take care of those who are left alone”. “There are entire populations who are exploited and left to their own devices,” he said. “There are migrants who are no longer faces but numbers, rejected inmates and people categorised as problems.”
“I’m still alive,” the pope said after his discharge on Saturday from Rome’s Gemelli hospital where he underwent a series of tests after experiencing breathing difficulties and chest pain. As he greeted well-wishers outside the hospital he embraced an emotional mother whose five-year-old daughter had died in the hospital overnight. Asked by reporters if he had been afraid during his hospital stay, the pope said: “No, afraid no.”
Palm Sunday mass, which starts a busy week in the Catholic church calendar in the run-up to Easter, was assisted by cardinal Leonardo Sandri, vice-dean of the college of cardinals.
During his angelus prayer the pope thanked the faithful for their “participation and prayers, which intensified during these past days”.
He gave a special blessing for the Caravan of Peace, a charity mission that set off for Ukraine from Italy in recent days. “Along with basic necessities, they are bringing the closeness of the people of Italy to the battered people of Ukraine, and today, they are offering olive branches, symbols of the peace of Christ.
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