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Pope leads outdoor events for Immaculate Conception despite bronchitis

Pope Francis leads public events after recovering from bronchitis, prays for peace and announces World Children's Day in Rome.

Pope Francis, who has been battling bronchitis for two weeks, led several public events on Friday, including a visit to Rome's Piazza di Spagna to celebrate the Catholic feast of the Immaculate Conception. After falling ill, the pope had been unable to read his prepared speeches and had been forced to cancel a trip to Dubai.

The Vatican had announced that Pope Francis was receiving treatment for a "mild flu," which the pontiff later described as an infectious bronchitis. He was forced to cancel a Dec. 1-3 trip to Dubai due to his illness. His public addresses have been done via livestream, with an aide reading his prepared remarks for him.

For the first time since falling ill, the pope delivered his noontime Angelus address from the window of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace. He also led a public prayer at Rome's Piazza di Spagna, calling for peace and praying for all categories of people, including workers, those in prison and in rest homes, the homeless, and families.

During his prayer, Pope Francis asked for peace in Ukraine, Palestine, and Israel, and announced that May 25 and 26 of 2024 would mark the first-ever World Children's Day in Rome. He emphasized the need to put children at the center and take care of them, like Jesus did.

The pope's outdoor appearance on Friday marked his first since becoming ill. He also prayed for all mothers who have lost their children due to war and terrorism, as well as for women suffering from violence in Rome, Italy, and around the world.

Pope Francis emphasized the importance of peace, asking for hearts to be at peace and for peace in the world. He also highlighted the need for forgiveness and repentance, insisting that the world changes if hearts change. He prayed for the salvation of every person and of the whole world, asking for the kingdom of love, justice, and peace to come.

The pope's message focused on the faithfulness of Mary in simple daily activities, emphasizing that evil does not have the final word and that our destiny is not death but life, not hatred but fraternity, not conflict but harmony, and not war but peace. He also called for education and purification to counteract the violence nestled in our hearts and minds.

Pope Francis' acts of homage to the Virgin Mary and his prayers for peace demonstrate his commitment to promoting peace and addressing the needs of the vulnerable. His message resonates with believers and non-believers alike, emphasizing the importance of love, justice, and peace in a world marred by violence and conflict.

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