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Pope Francis set to return home after three days in hospital

A young baby named Miguel Ángel, received the sacrament of baptism from Pope Francis at Rome's Gemelli hospital on Friday 31 March
A young baby named Miguel Ángel, received the sacrament of baptism from Pope Francis at Rome's Gemelli hospital on Friday 31 March Copyright Handout
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By Euronews with AFP
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In the first images of the Pope since his admission to hospital on Wednesday, Francis is seen baptising a newborn baby at Rome's Gemelli hospital, where he was being treated for bronchitis.

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Pope Francis is expected to return home on Saturday after what will have been three nights in hospital and will attend Palm Sunday services, the Vatican said.

In the first images of the 86-year-old pontiff since his admission to hospital on Wednesday, Francis was filmed baptising a newborn baby, before visiting the sick at Rome's Gemelli hospital, where he was being treated for bronchitis.

The Argentine pontiff, who had part of one lung removed as a young man, has suffered increasing health issues in recent years. This was his second stay in hospital since 2021.

On Friday morning, he had breakfast, read some newspapers and did some work in the private papal suite on the hospital's 10th floor, the Vatican said. 

"His Holiness's return home to Santa Marta (his Vatican home) is expected tomorrow, in the wake of the results of the latest tests this morning," said Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, on Friday.

He said Pope Francis had been due to preside over Palm Sunday mass in St Peter's Square, which marks the beginning of Holy Week and Easter, Christianity's most important holiday.

Now Francis will stay seated while someone else - likely a senior cardinal - performs the ceremony at the altar. The mass will be followed by the pope's regular Sunday Angelus prayer.

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