Pope Francis joked with reporters and comforted a grieving couple as he was released from a Rome hospital, where he was treated for a bout of bronchitis.
The 86-year-old pontiff looked well and appeared to be in a good spirits as he emerged from Gemelli hospital on Saturday morning, telling one reporter: “Well, I’m still alive.”
As he spoke to reporters, the pope was approached by a young couple who lost their daughter on Friday night, and he spent several minutes to comfort and pray with them.
“I thank everyone for their closeness and prayer,” the pope said in a statement. “I entrust the sick to Mary, especially the youngest, like those I met in the oncology ward at Gemelli. Let us pray for those who suffer the loss of dear ones and for those who work in hospitals. It takes courage. I admire them.”
Francis was taken to A. Gemelli Polyclinic on Wednesday afternoon after complaining of breathing difficulties.
“As part of scheduled clinical checks, the Holy Father was found to have infectious bronchitis which required the administration of antibiotics on an infusion basis,” spokesman Matteo Bruni said on Thursday, adding that his condition quickly improved.
The Vatican said the pope baptized a baby, met with patients and even ate a pizza while staying at the hospital.
Francis, who had part of a lung removed when he was younger, was also hospitalized in July 2021 to have 33 centimeters (13 inches) of his colon removed. He was released from the hospital after 10 days.
Pope Francis, leaving Gemelli hospital, comforts & prays with a couple who just lost their daughter, Angelica, last night. pic.twitter.com/QzNcNj2UdT— Delia Gallagher (@deliacnn) April 1, 2023