May 21, 2024 2:04 pm
Pope’s Improved Health Leads to Praise for Israeli and Arab Fathers who Lost Children in Conflict

Pope Francis made a public appearance on Wednesday in better health, walking into the Vatican audience hall on his own with a cane for his weekly general audience. This marked his first public appearance since Palm Sunday Mass, where he chose to skip his homily to conserve his energy for the upcoming busy Holy Week.

Despite facing health challenges, such as difficulties in walking and needing assistance to read aloud, the 87-year-old Pontiff has been determined to continue serving as the head of the Catholic Church. His battle with the flu, bronchitis, and cold has worsened during the winter, making it even more challenging for him to keep up with his demanding schedule.

During his audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis spoke about the virtue of patience and called for peace. He urged an immediate halt to ongoing conflicts and shared the story of two men in the audience hall who had both lost daughters in the Middle East conflict. Despite their shared tragedy, they had formed a deep friendship that had been documented in a novel titled “Apeirogon.”

Pope Francis commended their courage and friendship, emphasizing the importance of looking beyond enmity and embracing compassion. Before the general audience, he met with Bassam Aramin and Rami Elhanan in private. He then warmly greeted them during the audience, highlighting their powerful witness of experiencing immense loss yet choosing friendship and compassion over hatred.

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