On March 28th, 2022, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis, the current head of the Catholic Church, had contracted a respiratory infection and would need to spend several days in the Gemelli Hospital in Rome for medical treatment.
The 86-year-old Pope had reportedly been experiencing breathing difficulties in the days leading up to his hospitalization, but it was confirmed that he had tested negative for Covid-19. The Vatican statement assured the public that the Pope’s condition was not life-threatening, and that he was expected to make a full recovery.
The statement also expressed the Pope’s gratitude for the outpouring of support and well wishes that he had received, saying that he was touched by the many messages and prayers that had been sent his way.
The Pope’s closest staff, including his security team, were expected to stay overnight at the hospital to ensure that he received the best possible care during his stay. This was not an uncommon practice, as the Pope’s security detail typically stayed close by wherever he went.
This hospitalization came at a particularly busy time for Pope Francis, as the Easter season was just around the corner. There were many events and services scheduled for the coming weeks, including a Palm Sunday Mass and Holy Week and Easter celebrations.
Despite his age and recent health issues, the Pope has remained remarkably active and has continued to travel both domestically and internationally to fulfill his duties. He even visited the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan in February 2022, just a few months before his hospitalization.
The Pope has been using a wheelchair in recent months due to mobility problems related to his knee, and he underwent surgery in 2021 to treat a colon problem. In January 2022, he announced that the condition had returned, but he remained determined to continue his work as Pope.
Pope Francis has been widely praised for his progressive views on social issues and for his efforts to promote interfaith dialogue and cooperation. He has also been an outspoken advocate for social justice, climate change action, and the plight of refugees and migrants.
Despite his ailments, the Pope has remained committed to his duties and has continued to inspire millions of people around the world with his message of compassion, inclusivity, and love.