Pope Francis leads Palm Sunday service day after hospital discharge

An estimated 60,000 people attended the two-hour-long service.

Updated: April 2, 2023 - 8:28am

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Pope Francis led the Palm Sunday Mass one day after he was released from the hospital where he underwent several scheduled tests and was treated for bronchitis.

An estimated 60,000 people attended the two-hour-long service, according to Vatican News.

Francis, 86, was hospitalized Wednesday after suffering from breathing difficulties. He was discharged from Gemelli Hospital in Rome to his home Saturday.

The pope remained seated for most of the service, and he spoke about the feeling of abandonment. He urged the listeners to remember that "the rejected and the excluded are living icons of Christ: they remind us of his reckless love, his forsakenness that delivers us from every form of loneliness and isolation."

Palm Sunday, exactly one week before Easter, is the day that Christians believe Jesus rode into Jerusalem before he was killed on the cross and rose from the dead three days later.