Pope Francis Carries On Despite Health Struggles: Urges Peace and Companionship in a World Plagued by Conflict

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, appearing healthier than he has in some time. He walked into the Vatican audience hall on his own with a cane, and delivered his prepared text with a clear voice. This marked his first public appearance since Palm Sunday Mass, where he chose to skip his homily to conserve his energy for the upcoming Holy Week.

Despite facing health challenges in recent years, including difficulty walking and needing assistance to read aloud his remarks, Pope Francis is determined to carry out his duties as the leader of the Catholic Church. His battle with flu, bronchitis, and cold has worsened during the winter months, but he remains committed to fulfilling his obligations during Holy Week.

During his audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis spoke about the virtue of patience and called for peace, urging an immediate halt to ongoing conflicts. He shared the story of two men in the audience hall who had both lost daughters due to the Middle East conflict – Bassam Aramin from Israel and Rami Elhanan from Palestine. Despite their shared tragedy, they had formed a deep friendship that has 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 delivering his address to the general audience, he met with Bassam Aramin and Rami Elhanan in private to warmly greet them and recognize their powerful witness as individuals who have experienced immense loss yet chosen friendship and compassion over hatred.

Sophia Reynolds

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