By Kate Scanlon
WASHINGTON (OSV News) — After the Vatican said Pope Francis was hospitalized for a pulmonary infection March 29, Catholic bishops in the United States called on the faithful to pray for the Holy Father’s recovery.
“On behalf of my brother bishops, I invite all the faithful to pause, if possible before the Blessed Sacrament, and pray for his speedy recovery,” Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Servicesand president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a March 29 statement. “May our dear shepherd and all those in need of healing experience the comfort of Christ.”
Pope Francis went to Rome’s Gemelli hospital March 29 after having difficulty breathing. The pontiff was diagnosed with a respiratory infection that will be treated in the hospital for several days, the Vatican press office said. In an update on Pope Francis’ condition March 30, the Vatican press office said his “clinical picture is progressively improving and he is continuing with his planned treatment.”
The statement also said after breakfast, the pope read newspapers and resumed work, as well as prayed in a private chapel in the hospital and received the Eucharist.
“Pope Francis is touched by the many messages he’s received and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer,” the press office said.
Other U.S. bishops offered their own individual well wishes and calls for prayers for Pope Francis’ recovery as well.
New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan wrote on Twitter that he has been “following the updates on the Holy Father through the media.”
“Please join me in keeping him in prayer for a speedy return to health!” Cardinal Dolan wrote.
Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez of Philadelphia wrote in a statement that he was “saddened” by the news of Pope Francis’ hospitalization, and asked the faithful to join him in “prayer for the intention of the Holy Father’s good health.”
“The Universal Church is deeply blessed by his ministry,” Archbishop Perez wrote. “He is a man of deep compassion, humility, and strength.”
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago called on the faithful to pray “for the swift and complete recovery of the Holy Father.”
“Over the past month, people around the world prayed millions of Hail Marys to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Holy Father’s election to the chair of Peter. We responded then to Pope Francis’s often repeated request to pray for him,” he said in a statement. “Let us continue our prayers, this time for the return of this extraordinary shepherd to good health and to his work of spreading the joy of God’s love and mercy.”
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles wrote in a tweet that “we entrust him to the tender care of Our Lady of Guadalupe and we ask that she keep him close in her love.”
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