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Rome Reports

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Young hospital patients accompany Pope Francis during first Angelus after surgery

This is the Pope’s first public appearance since undergoing intestinal surgery a week ago, on Sunday, July 4.

He looked out from a balcony at the Gemelli Hospital, close to the room where he’s been recovering.

I thank all of you. I have felt your closeness and the support of your prayers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

The Pope didn’t need help walking. He appeared well and remained standing the entire time, though his voice sounded slightly weak at first.

All of us, everybody, sooner or later need this “anointing” of closeness and tenderness. And we can all give it to each other, with a visit, a phone call, a hand held out to someone in need.

Pope Francis praised the Italian healthcare system, which is free for all citizens, and he asked that it remain that way.

A free healthcare system that guarantees good service accessible to everyone.

Some of the children who are patients at the hospital accompanied the Pope during the prayer.

And let us pray for all the sick. I have some young friends here who are sick. Why do children suffer? Why do children suffer is a question that reaches the heart. Accompany them with prayer. And pray for all the sick.

Before returning to his room, he said he is praying for Haiti, whose president was killed a few days ago. Pope Francis also said that the Church is praying especially for those who work at sea, far from home and their families.

He also asked to care for the oceans, specifically not to pollute them with plastic.