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Pope Francis celebrates weekly Angelus prayer despite mild flu symptoms

Pope Francis   -  
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Gregorio Borgia/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

Pope Francis

Pope Francis was well enough on Sunday to celebrate his weekly Angelus prayer from the Vatican window overlooking St. Peter's Square, after cancelling his engagements a day before for a mild flu.

A brief announcement from the Vatican press office on Saturday said the 87-year-old pontiff was forced to scrap a planned audience with the Roman deacons as a precautionary measure due to a “mild, flu-like condition.”

On Sunday, Francis – who over the past few months had to cancel some of his activities and one international trip due to his fragile health – appeared in good shape and regularly read his Angelus prayer, concluding it with his usual salutes to the crowd and his request to pray for him.

In his address, Francis remembered “with sorrow” the second anniversary of the start of what he called “a large-scale war in Ukraine.”

“So many victims, wounded, destruction, death, tears in a period that is becoming terribly long and whose end is not yet in sight,” the pope said.

“It is a war that is not only devastating that region of Europe, but also unleashing a global wave of fear and hatred,” he added.

“I plead for that little bit of humanity to be found to create the conditions for a diplomatic solution in the search for a just and lasting peace.”

The pontiff also prayed for the populations involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and "for so many war-torn people, and to concretely help those who suffer...Let us think of so much suffering, let us think of the wounded, innocent children.”

Francis added he followed with concern the escalation of violence in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, joining "the call of the bishops to pray for peace, hoping for an end to the fighting and the search for a sincere and constructive dialogue", and expressed concern for “the increasingly frequent kidnappings in Nigeria”.

At the end of the Angelus, Pope Francis also again drew attention to climate change, saying he was "close to the people of Mongolia affected by a wave of intense cold that is causing serious humanitarian consequences”.

"This extreme phenomenon is also a sign of climate change and its effects. The climate crisis is a global social problem that deeply affects the lives of many brothers and sisters, especially the most vulnerable," he concluded.