Pope jokes as he leaves hospital after three-day stay

Pope Francis joked “I’m still alive” as he left hospital following treatment for a respiratory infection.

The 86-year-old was admitted to Rome’s Gemelli hospital on Wednesday to be treated for bronchitis.

He sat in the front seat of a white car, waving to a group of journalists outside the hospital after being discharged.

“I wasn’t frightened, I’m still alive,” he said in a light-hearted remark to reporters.

Pope Francis consoles a couple who as lost a child the day before as he leaves the Agostino Gemelli University Hospital in Rome, Saturday, April 1, 2023 after receiving treatment for a bronchitis, The Vatican said. Francis was hospitalized on Wednesday after his public general audience in St. Peter's Square at The Vatican. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis consoles a woman as he leaves hospital in Rome

The Vatican confirmed the pontiff will be St. Peter’s Square for Palm Sunday Mass to mark the start of Holy Week.

Pope Francis – who had part of one lung removed as a young man – had complained of breathing difficulties before being admitted to hospital on Wednesday for tests.

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Pope baptises baby during hospital stay

“The tests showed a respiratory infection (COVID-19 infection excluded) that will require some days of medical therapy,” a statement said.

On Thursday, spokesman Matteo Bruni said the Pope had rested well overnight and was working from his room at Rome’s Gemelli hospital.

While in hospital, the pontiff baptised a baby during a visit to a paediatric oncology ward, where he also brought children rosaries, chocolate easter eggs and copies of an Italian book for children about Jesus.

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