South Florida Catholic community offering prayers for Pope Francis following news of hospitalization

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – South Florida Catholics attended Wednesday mass after learning that Pope Francis has been hospitalized.

The news came only days before the beginning of the most sacred week of the year for Catholics.

The faithful around the world, and the significant Catholic population in South Florida, are praying their leader can recover in time for Palm Sunday.

The Vatican says Pope Francis complained of some respiratory difficulties in recent days and on Wednesday afternoon, he went to the hospital for some medical checks.

The outcome of those showed a respiratory infection.

In the coming days, Catholics across the world will offer prayers for Pope Francis.

“For God to hear all of our prayers, for him to feel better, and for him to continue on,” said Isolina Bryant.

At Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Miami, prayers for a speedy recovery were offered.

“I just pray that he will get better because we really need him to lead us as Peter led us many, many moons ago,” said Marilyn Bellamy.

The 86-year-old pontiff has shown signs of a slowdown in recent years, using a wheelchair due to knee pain.

Last year, part of his colon was removed due to a condition causing inflammation of the intestines.

Francis is an especially consequential leader for Hispanic Catholics as the first pope from Latin America.

“Very special pope for us and for Argentina,” said Argentinian Catholic Jimena Oropesa. “When he became pope for us, it was like wonderful, so exciting.”

Francis is now hospitalized only days before the beginning of Holy Week.

For now, the Vatican is not saying whether he will be able to attend those celebrations.

Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski released a statement Wednesday, asking that God grant the pope serenity despite any discomfort he may be experiencing.

The Vatican did specifically say that the Pope was suffering from a respiratory infection and not COVID-19.

About the Author:

Cody Weddle joined Local 10 News as a full-time reporter in South Florida in August of 2022. Before that, Cody worked regularly with Local 10 since January of 2017 as a foreign correspondent in Venezuela and Colombia.