April 2023: An unusual Easter Week for Pope Francis

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On the first day of April, Pope Francis was discharged from the hospital and kickstarted a busy month full of Easter celebrations and a trip to Hungary.

While leaving Rome's Gemelli hospital following his 3-day treatment for bronchitis, the Pope consoled a couple who had lost their child the night before.

The next day, Pope Francis presided over Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square. In his homily, he spoke about seeing Jesus in those who are abandoned.

Unborn children, the elderly who live alone, who could also be your dad, your mom, your grandpa or grandma, abandoned in nursing homes. The sick who no one visits, the disabled who are ignored and the young burdened by great interior emptiness, with no one listening to their cry of pain and find no other option except suicide.

After Palm Sunday, the Pope continued his Holy Week activities. On Holy Thursday, he traveled to a juvenile prison outside of Rome where he washed the feet of twelve prisoners.

But on Good Friday, his recent sickness and the unusually cold weather changed his plans. Pope Francis did not preside over the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum but instead followed it from his residence in the Vatican.

Despite this, he still presided over the Easter Vigil and Sunday Mass. The Pope finished Easter Week by extending the Urbi et Orbi apostolic blessing to the nearly 100,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

At the end of the month, Pope Francis traveled to Hungary. There, he addressed audiences ranging from politicians, to youth, to refugees. He delivered a message of unity at his final Mass in Budapest.

It is beautiful when the borders do not represent frontiers that separate us but zones that connect us. And when believers in Christ emphasize first the charity that unites and not the historical, cultural and religious differences that divide.

The end of the month coincided with the end of Pope Francis' 41st international trip.


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