Pope Francis delivers Easter Sunday address amid health concerns

Pope Francis during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall. VATICAN CITY^ VATICAN - 18 JANUARY 2023

Pope Francis presided over Easter Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Square, delivering a heartfelt prayer for peace and making several loops around the piazza in his popemobile to greet well-wishers. Francis, 87, arrived in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday two days after he missed the Way of the Cross procession on Good Friday, with the Vatican press office sharing in a statement that he did so “to preserve his health” so that he’d be able to attend the Easter Saturday vigil and Sunday Mass and blessing.

NBC News reported that Francis appeared on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica looking healthy and in good spirits as he waved to crowds gathered for Easter services on Sunday. The pope has been battling health issues over then last month, including bronchitis and the flu, with regular visits to the hospital for checks on his lungs. Respiratory problems and a chronic cough have often been cause for his aides to read passages of speeches for him.

Francis delivered his Easter message and blessing, the Urbi et Orbi, or “to the city and the world” blessing, and during the address appealed for peace around the world, particularly in Ukraine and Gaza, as well as a call for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, increased humanitarian aid, and the release of all hostages taken on Oct. 7: “Jesus alone opens up before us the doors of life, those doors that continually we shut with the wars spreading throughout the world …May the risen Christ open a path of peace for the war-torn peoples of those regions. Let us not yield to the logic of weapons and rearming. Peace is never made with arms, but with outstretched hands and open hearts … Let us not allow the current hostilities to continue to have grave repercussions on the civil population, by now at the limit of its endurance, and above all on the children.”

Editorial credit: Alessia Pierdomenico / Shutterstock.com

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