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Pope Francis Continues Surgical Recovery, Will Deliver Sunday Blessing

FILE - Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he arrives to recite the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican, July 4, 2021.

A Vatican spokesman said Pope Francis is continuing to recover from intestinal surgery performed earlier this week and will deliver his Sunday noon blessing from the hospital.

In a statement, Vatican Press Office Director Matteo Bruni said the 84-year-old pope walked in the corridor of Rome’s Gemelli Hospital Thursday and “resumed his work, alternating it with moments of reading texts.” He said the pope “celebrated Holy Mass in the chapel of his private apartment” in the hospital, “attended by all those assisting him during his hospitalization.”

Bruni said the pope had fully recovered from a slight fever he had Wednesday.

Francis underwent three hours of planned surgery Sunday to treat “severe diverticular stenosis with signs of sclerosing diverticulitis,” or a hardening of the sacs that can sometimes form in the lining of the intestine.

The Vatican spokesman went on to say the pope would recite the Angelus prayer from the 10th floor of the hospital Sunday, indicating he was not quite well enough to leave the hospital yet. Bruni added, “The Holy Father gives thanks for the many messages of affection and closeness that he receives daily and asks that we continue to pray for him.”

Francis had been considered healthy overall and this is the first time he has been admitted to the hospital since he became pope in 2013, though he lost the upper part of one lung in his youth because of an infection. He also suffers from sciatica, or nerve pain, that makes him walk with a pronounced limp.

The Vatican has continued normal operations in his absence, though July is traditionally a month when the pope cancels public and private audiences.