Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Pope Francis on Wednesday resumed his normal schedule of weekly audiences at the Vatican after intestinal surgery in Rome a month ago.
The pontiff spoke to hundreds during his General Audience, which lasted for nearly an hour. He walked to the center of the stage at Paul VI Hall without assistance and appeared to have recovered from colon surgery on July 4.
Toward the end of his address, Francis observed the one-year anniversary of the explosion in Lebanon that killed more than 200 people and destroyed a portion of the Port of Beirut on Aug. 4, 2020. The blast displaced more than 300,000 people.
"In these days, I think especially of the beloved country of Lebanon a year after the terrible port explosion in its capital, Beirut, with its toll of death and destruction," the pope told his audience. "I think above all of the victims and their families, the many injured and those who lost their homes and livelihoods. So many people have lost the desire to go on."
Nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored at the port for several years fueled the blast.
"Today I would also appeal to the international community to offer Lebanon concrete assistance, not only with words but with concrete actions in undertaking a journey of 'resurrection,'" Francis added. "It is my hope that the current International Conference hosted by France with the support of the United Nations will prove productive in this regard.
"Dear Lebanese friends, I greatly desire to visit you and I continue to pray for you, so that Lebanon will once more be a message of peace and fraternity for the entire Middle East."
The pope had his colon surgery at Gemelli Hospital in Rome and recovered there for about a week. For the month of July, all papal activities were suspended except for Sunday Angelus, which he held from a balcony of the hospital.