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Vatican: Pope to deliver Sunday blessing from Rome hospital

Pope Francis is walking, working and has celebrated Mass at a Rome hospital where he also will deliver his weekly Sunday blessing.

A press photographer aims her lens at the 10th floor of the Agostino Gemelli hospital, where Pope Francis was hospitalized Sunday, in Rome, Friday, July 9, 2021. The Vatican says Pope Francis is walking, working and has celebrated Mass at a Rome hospital where he also will deliver his Sunday weekly blessing while recovering from intestinal surgery.  (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis is walking, working and has celebrated Mass at a Rome hospital where he also will deliver his weekly Sunday blessing while recovering from intestinal surgery, the Vatican said Friday.

The Vatican’s daily medical update said that Francis’ temperature was normal again following the slight fever he ran Wednesday evening. It said his treatment and recovery at Gemelli Polyclinic were proceeding as planned.

Francis, 84, had half of his colon removed July 4 for what the Vatican said was a “severe” narrowing of his large intestine. He is expected to stay at Gemelli, which has a special suite reserved for popes, through the week, assuming there are no complications.

The statement said Francis would deliver his noontime Sunday blessing from the 10th floor of the hospital, an appointment that will recall the practice of St. John Paul II, who also delivered the Angelus prayer and greetings from the hospital’s 10th floor during his occasional stays.

During one stay in 1996, John Paul quipped that after so many visits, Gemelli had become the “Vatican No. 3,” after St. Peter’s and the papal summer estate in Castel Gandolfo.

Francis, for his part, was continuing to eat regularly and walk in the corridor after the three-hour surgery Sunday, the Vatican said. It said he had resumed working, “alternating it with moments of reading texts.”

He celebrated Mass in the papal private apartment on Thursday afternoon, “attended by all those assisting him during his hospitalization,” the Vatican said.

The Argentine pope has enjoyed relatively robust health, 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.

John Paul’s first stay at Gemelli was after he was shot during a May 13, 1981 assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square. He returned in subsequent years for broken bones suffered in falls, an appendectomy, and respiratory and throat problems.

The Polish pope, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, died at the Vatican on April 2, 2005.