Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square for Palm Sunday after illness

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Pope Francis attended a Palm Sunday service in St Peter’s Square, a day after he was discharged from hospital following successful treatment for a severe bout of bronchitis.

He was driven into the huge esplanade, sitting in the back of an open-topped vehicle as it passed through the crowds, before descending and starting the service from his position beneath an ancient Egyptian obelisk.

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The pope, 86, was taken to Rome’s Gemelli hospital on Wednesday after complaining of breathing difficulties, but recovered quickly following an infusion of antibiotics and returned to his Vatican residence on Saturday.

Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday on April 9 this year. Its numerous events will test the pope’s stamina.

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