ROME — Pope Francis will offer his weekly Sunday blessing and greeting from the Rome hospital where he is recovering from intestinal surgery, following in the footsteps of St. John Paul II, the Vatican said Friday.
Francis’ temperature has returned to normal after a brief fever on Wednesday evening, according to the Vatican’s daily medical bulletin. According to the statement, the pontiff’s treatment and recuperation at Gemelli Polyclinic were going well, with him walking, eating, working, and celebrating Mass with medical personnel.
Francis, 84, had half of his colon removed on July 4 due to a “severe” constriction of his large intestine, according to the Vatican. If there are no problems, Francis is scheduled to spend the entire week at Gemelli, which has a special room allocated for popes.
Francis will offer his noontime Sunday blessing from the hospital’s 10th level, according to the statement, echoing John Paul’s habit of delivering the Angelus prayer and greetings from the hospital’s 10th floor during his rare visits.
During one visit in 1996, John Paul joked that Gemelli had become the “Vatican No. 3” after so many trips “after St. Peter’s and the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo
Francis, for one, continued to eat regularly and walk down the hallway following his three-hour operation on Sunday, according to the Vatican. He had resumed work, “alternating it with intervals of reading texts,” according to the report.”
Although an illness in his childhood caused him to lose the upper half of one lung, the Argentine pope has had pretty good health. He also has sciatica, or nerve discomfort, which causes him to walk with a noticeable limp.
John Paul’s first stay at Gemelli was following his assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981. “Pray for the brother who shot me, whom I have genuinely forgiven,” he stated in his Sunday prayer four days later from the ICU.
In June of that year, John Paul was freed, but he returned a few weeks later after contracting a major illness that kept him in the hospital for over two months.
In later years, he returned for fractured bones from falls, an appendectomy, lung and throat issues, and the removal of a benign intestinal tumor. On April 2, 2005, the Polish pope, who had Parkinson’s illness, died in the Vatican.