Pope Francis Delivers Easter Sunday Prayers After Recent Hospitalization

Pope Francis
Photo by Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

The Pope was discharged from the hospital on April 1 for bronchitis treatment.

Pope Francis welcomed Easter Sunday with his annual St. Peter's Square address in Vatican City. The Pope offered prayers to both Ukrainian and Russian people and highlighted countries that have welcomed refugees. 

Sending a message to those who are suffering, Pope Francis said, "May this Easter be for each of you, dear brothers and sisters, and in particular for the sick and the poor, the elderly and those experiencing moments of trial and weariness, a passage from affliction to consolation." 

His public appearance comes after being discharged from the hospital on April 1 for bronchitis treatment. The Pope spent three days at the Gemelli Polyclinic hospital in Rome, where he received antibiotics administered intravenously, after complaints of breathing difficulties. 

The Vatican had originally claimed Francis had been admitted for a previously scheduled check-up before sharing the details of his condition. The news was particularly concerning given Francis, 86, is missing part of one lung -- after undergoing surgery in his early 20s while training to be a priest in his native Argentina.

The Pope has also had his fair share of health issues over the years -- last year, he began using a wheelchair after experiencing persistent knee pain. He also underwent surgery to remove part of his left colon in 2021 after a bout with diverticulitis, a condition that can infect or inflame the colon. Earlier this year, he said the condition had returned, but that he was not overly concerned.

Amid his ongoing health issues, following a trip to Canada last July, Francis hinted that he needed to slow down.

"I think at my age and with this limitation, I have to save [my energies up] a bit to be able to serve the church or, on the contrary, think about the possibility of stepping aside. This I say with all honesty," Francis said during a news conference. "It is not a catastrophe. It is possible to change pope."

Despite acknowledging that he may need to slow down, Francis has largely kept up with his papal duties, from taking a six-day trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan last month to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his pontificate earlier this month.

While Francis isn't the oldest pope in power, he's only one of three popes in the papacy's 500-year history to reach the age of 86 while in the position.