'I am still alive,' Pope Francis says while leaving hospital

World Saturday 01/April/2023 15:24 PM
By: DW
'I am still alive,' Pope Francis says while leaving hospital

Rome: Rome's Gemelli University Hospital has released Pope Francis three days after he was brought in for treatment of a respiratory infection, news agencies on the scene reported on Saturday.

The 86-year-old pontiff joked with wellwishers and reporters waiting outside that he was "still alive" as he headed back to the Vatican to prepare for Easter week.

The pope had been brought to the hospital after complaining of breathing difficulties, but doctors said he responded well to a treatment of antibiotics.

Ready for Easter celebrations
Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni had already confirmed that the pope would take part in the Palm Sunday service this weekend, the official beginning of Holy Week in the run-up to Easter.

The ceremonies and rituals of Holy Week — the most important period for the Christian faith — can be exhausting and the pope's hospital visit is only the most recent in a series of ailments.

Francis marked his 10-year anniversary as pope in March.

Knee problems last year forced him to sit on the sidelines for some of the Easter events as senior cardinals celebrated Masses. Giovanni Battista Re, dean of the college of cardinals, has said that he would help the pope during this year's ceremonies.

Health problems, including colon surgery last year, have led to speculation that the pope may follow his predecessor and retire rather than keep the job for life.