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Pope hopes to return to Vatican soon after surgery

Pope Francis, who remains in hospital more than a week after he underwent colon surgery, hopes to return to the Vatican as soon as possible, the Holy See said on Tuesday.

“The holy father is continuing his planned treatment and rehabilitation, which will allow him to return to the Vatican as soon as possible,’’ a statement said.

The 84-year-old pontiff had a scheduled operation at Gemelli University Hospital north of Rome on June 4, to address a painful bowel disease known as symptomatic diverticular stenosis.

Part of his colon was removed during the surgery.

It is Pope Francis’ first stay in the hospital since the beginning of his pontificate in 2013.

One of his predecessors, John Paul II, who was pope from 1979 until 2005, was operated on 10 times at the hospital.

The Holy See said the pope had met many patients during his stay at the hospital and had a special message for those who are bedridden:

“May they live this time as an opportunity, even if experienced in pain, to open themselves with tenderness to their sick brother or sister in the next bed, with whom they share the same human frailty.’’

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