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Pope Francis Returns to Vatican Following Surgery

Pope Francis returned to the Vatican Wednesday, after more than 11 days in the hospital where he underwent intestinal surgery.
 
The Pope Francis arrived at the Vatican via automobile and stepped out slowly but unassisted. He shook hands and chatted with military personnel and police officers before entering the Vatican gates.
 
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni, in a statement, said Francis stopped to pray at the Rome Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore before returning to the Vatican. Francis normally does this at the end of each foreign trip to give thanks to the Madonna.
 
From his Twitter account Wednesday, Pope Francis wrote to thank “all those who have been close to me with prayer and affection during my hospital stay. Let us not forget to pray for the sick and for those who assist them.”
 I thank all those who have been close to me with prayer and affection during my hospital stay. Let us not forget to pray for the sick and for those who assist them.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) July 14, 2021Francis underwent three hours of planned surgery July 4 to treat “severe diverticular stenosis with signs of sclerosing diverticulitis,” or a hardening of the sacs that can sometimes form in the lining of the intestine. The surgery required the removal of a large section of the pope’s colon.  
 
Francis had been considered healthy overall, and this is the first time he has been admitted to the hospital since he became pope in 2013, though he lost the upper part of one lung in his youth because of an infection. He also suffers from sciatica, or nerve pain, that makes him walk with a pronounced limp.
 
The Vatican has continued normal operations in his absence, though July is traditionally a month when the pope cancels public and private audiences.

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