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Vatican: Pope Francis alert and 'doing well' following colon surgery

By
Don Jacobson
Pope Francis is shown during Easter Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on April 4. File photo by Stefano Spaziani/UPI
Pope Francis is shown during Easter Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on April 4. File photo by Stefano Spaziani/UPI | License Photo

July 5 (UPI) -- Pope Francis continued to recover from scheduled colon surgery on Monday and is expected to remain hospitalized for seven days, Vatican officials announced.

The pontiff is "doing well and is alert" following his surgery on Sunday evening, the Holy See Press office said in a statement published by the Vatican's official news service.

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Spokesman Matteo Bruni said Francis is doing well overall, alert and breathing on his own after undergoing a hemicolectomy on the left side took in a procedure that lasted around three hours.

Barring complications, the Argentine prelate will remain at Rome's Policlinico Gemelli hospital for seven days, he added.

The operation was performed by Dr. Sergio Alfieri, the hospital's head of digestive surgery who specializes in colon-rectal, stomach and pancreatic surgery.

Francis is in the same area of the Gemilli hospital complex where Pope John Paul II stayed during the spells in hospitals he had during his papacy, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Monday sent his "affectionate wishes for a quick convalescence and speedy recovery to the Holy Father" after the surgery.

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Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference of Bishops, told Francis in a message, "We are waiting for you next Sunday, from the window of the Apostolic Palace, to pray the Angelus together and listen to His word."

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Pope Francis (L) speaks with Iraq's President Barham Salih (R) before departing for Rome at Baghdad International Airport on Monday. Photo courtesy of Iraqi president's press office | License Photo

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