Pope Francis wants to return to the Vatican in time for the important church celebrations before and at Easter. After three nights he should leave the hospital again this Saturday, as Matteo Bruni, spokesman for the Holy See, announced on Friday. After evaluating the latest medical tests, the head of the Catholic Church was allowed to return to his apartment after inpatient treatment at the Gemelli Polyclinic. It is planned that the pontiff will already be present at the celebration on Palm Sunday in St. Peter's Square, it said.
The 86-year-old has been treated for bronchitis since Wednesday. Thursday went well, said Bruni. At a joint dinner of the Pope with doctors, nurses, assistants and security guards, there was pizza. After breakfast on Friday, Francis read newspapers and worked, it was said.
He also visited the children's cancer ward in the clinic. There the Pope distributed, among other things, chocolate eggs, rosaries and books to the little ones. During the half-hour visit, he also baptized a boy who was only a few weeks old in the name of Miguel Angel, as the Holy See announced. In the first photos and a short video released since his briefing, the pontiff appeared quite alert.
Earlier, Giovanni Battista Re, as Dean of the College of Cardinals one of the most experienced and influential men in the Curia, announced that he was expecting Francis at the Vatican on Saturday.
Pope will probably only sit next to the altar
Battista Re hinted that the pope will be present for important services in the coming days after his dismissal. Francis could officially preside over the Masses, even if he is only expected to sit next to the altar. The celebrations will be celebrated by other churchmen, as Battista Re had already announced to the media on Thursday: he himself would hold the service on Easter Sunday. Cardinal Leonardo Sandri is planned for the Palm Sunday before.
On Thursday evening, doctors at the Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome announced that Francis was being treated with antibiotics for bronchitis. The spokesman for the Holy See announced that the pontiff had rested and worked a little during the day. On Friday morning, the media reported that the Argentine's condition had continued to improve and that doctors were optimistic.
The Pope's hospitalization caused a stir in the Catholic Church and at the Curia. Because Holy Week and then Easter are just a few days away, there were fears that Francis would not be able to attend the most important celebrations of the church year in the Vatican. These include the Chrism Mass on Maundy Thursday with the consecration of the oils for confirmation and anointing of the sick, Good Friday with the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum, the Easter Vigil in St. Peter's Basilica and the service on Easter Sunday in front of tens of thousands of believers in St.