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Pope Francis made a public appearance at the Vatican audience hall for his weekly general audience, appearing in better health than he has in recent weeks. He walked in on his own with a cane and delivered his speech with a clear voice. This was his first public event since Palm Sunday Mass, where he skipped his homily due to his fragile health. The 87-year-old Pontiff has been facing difficulties in walking and breathing, often requiring an aide to read his remarks.

During his Wednesday audience, Francis spoke about the virtue of patience and called for peace in ongoing conflicts. He mentioned two fathers in the audience hall, one Palestinian and one Israeli, who had both lost their daughters in the Middle East conflict. Despite their losses, they remained friends and showed solidarity with each other. The Vatican press office shared the story of Bassam Aramin and Rami Elhanan, whose daughters were killed in separate incidents related to the conflict.

Francis highlighted the friendship of these two men as a symbol of hope and unity in the face of tragedy. He met with them privately before the general audience and expressed his admiration for their bond. The pope emphasized the importance of looking beyond war and enmity to find friendship and compassion in times of hardship. The meeting between Francis and the two fathers was a powerful moment of empathy and understanding in the midst of ongoing conflicts in the Holy Land.

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