Pope’s Improved Health Leads to Praise for Israeli and Arab Fathers who Lost Children in Conflict

Pope Francis made a public appearance on Wednesday, walking into the Vatican audience hall on his own with a cane. Despite facing health challenges and needing assistance to read aloud his remarks, he displayed a clear voice as he delivered his prepared text.

The 87-year-old Pontiff has been grappling with health issues such as difficulty walking, heavy breathing, and flu. His battle with these illnesses has worsened during the winter months, making it even more challenging for him to keep up with the demands of the Holy Week schedule.

During his audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis spoke about the virtue of patience and called for peace. He shared the story of two men in the audience hall who had lost their daughters due to conflict in the Middle East. Despite their shared tragedy, they had formed a deep friendship.

Bassam Aramin and Rami Elhanan each lost their daughter due to violence in the region. Their story of friendship has been documented in a novel titled “Apeirogon.” Pope Francis commended their courage and emphasized the importance of looking beyond enmity and embracing compassion.

Before delivering his address to the general audience, Pope Francis met privately with Bassam Aramin and Rami Elhanan. He warmly greeted them during his speech, highlighting their powerful witness as individuals who had experienced immense loss yet chose friendship and compassion over hatred.

By Riley Johnson

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