ROME, March 31 (Reuters) – Pope Francis will leave hospital on Saturday and could take part in all Easter week celebrations, a top cardinal told Italian news agency Adnkronos on Friday.
The pope, 86 and suffering from a number of ailments, was taken to Rome’s Gemelli hospital two days ago after complaining of breathing difficulties.
However, the Vatican said on Thursday he was already much better after beginning treatment with antibiotics and would probably be discharged within a few days.
“According to the information I have, he will leave the Gemelli tomorrow,” the dean of the college of cardinals, Giovanni Battista Re, said on Friday.
“That way, he could preside over all the Holy Week rites,” Re said.
Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday on April 2, leads to the most important event in the Christian calendar, Easter Sunday on April 9. The week includes a busy schedule of rituals and ceremonies that can be physically exhausting, including a Good Friday nighttime procession by Rome’s Colosseum.
Re said arrangements had been made for Francis to be supported by a cardinal in each of these celebrations, and that the cardinal would take care of altar duties.
Earlier on Friday, a Vatican source said the pope had spent a second peaceful night in hospital, in the latest sign he is recovering well from his bronchitis infection.
The Vatican expects to issue another bulletin on Francis’s progress later on Friday, the source added.
Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Writing by Gavin Jones and Alvise Armellini; Editing by Alison Williams and Peter Graff
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