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Pope Francis stable, receives poster from family of baby he baptized in hospital in March

Pope Francis spent the day after undergoing abdominal surgery resting, Vatican Press Office spokesman Matteo Bruni shared in a statement Thursday at 7:15 p.m. Rome time.

According to Bruni, medical staff caring for the pope shared that he is showing stable respiratory and blood flow parameters and his “postoperative course is regular.” He ate and drank nothing except water.

The pontiff was able to receive the Eucharist in the afternoon, marking the solemnity of Corpus Christi, Bruni said.

The Vatican’s end-of-day statement also said that “among the many messages of closeness” the pope received, “he was struck by the affection of the family of little Miguel Angel,” whom Francis baptized during his visit to the pediatric oncology ward while staying at Gemelli Hospital in March.

The family of a baby whom Pope Francis baptized during his stay in March 2023 sent the pope a poster June 8, 2023, thanking him for blessing baby Miguel Angel and wishing him a speedy recovery. Photo by Vatican Media

The family sent Francis a poster thanking him for blessing Miguel Angel and wishing him a speedy recovery.

“We just want to thank you for blessing our brother and wish from the bottom of our hearts that you get better,” the poster said in Spanish. “We would love to meet you in person and spend an afternoon together and so you could get to know our family better, your family because now you are part of our lives.”

The message concluded by saying: “We love you a lot” and “Get well soon.”

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The pope was so moved he wanted to thank Miguel Angel’s mother “personally with a short phone call,” Bruni said.

Francis underwent a three-hour surgery for an incisional hernia on June 7. A team of surgeons operated on a hernia in the pope’s abdominal wall at the site of a previous surgical incision.

Dr. Sergio Alfieri, the director of the hospital’s abdominal surgery department, said at a press conference immediately following the surgery that Francis had been experiencing pain for several months due to the hernia and decided on June 6 to undergo the surgery to correct it.

The 86-year-old pope has been hospitalized three times in the past two years.

He was hospitalized for four days in March for a lung infection and has also dealt this year with a recurrence of diverticulitis, a painful inflammation of bulges in the large intestine following his operation in July 2021.

Bruni told journalists earlier on June 8 that the pope’s routine follow-up examinations were good and that he would continue to rest in Rome’s Gemelli Hospital.

Pope Francis is expected to remain in Gemelli Hospital for several days. The Vatican has canceled all of the pope’s scheduled audiences through June 18.

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