(Photo: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi)
Pope Francis has canceled his second day of private appointments and his morning mass, with a Vatican spokesperson citing a "minor indisposition" as the reason for the pope's absence. Francis is expected to return to his regular commitments tomorrow.
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for Francis, as the 77-year-old pope recently went on an activity-packed tour of the Middle East, as well as hosted an Invocation for Peace at the Vatican with Israeli and Palestinian presidents this past Sunday. A Vatican spokesperson told the Catholic News Agency that following Sunday's event in the Vatican Gardens, the pope was "very tired."
"He is not sick, and there is nothing serious; but he had a minor indisposition, and because of this, he felt that it was better to give up some commitments yesterday and the celebration of the Mass with the general public this morning in Santa Marta," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told the Catholic News Agency on Tuesday.
Francis is expected to resume his normal activities tomorrow, including his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.
According to the Associated Press, some of Francis' top advisers have encouraged the 77-year-old pope, who has only one fully functioning lung, to take the summer off in Castel Gandolfo, a papal getaway located in Lazio, about 15 miles southeast of Rome. Francis has reportedly refused to vacation, instead insisting on continuing his work in Rome. The Catholic leader is scheduled to visit South Korea in August, as well as the Philippines and Sri Lanka next January.
"There are two Asian trips planned: one to South Korea and then next January, a two-day trip to Sri Lanka and the Philippines, to the area affected by the tsunami," Francis reportedly told La Stampa in May.
Francis' most recent trip to the Middle East had a significant impact on the Israeli and Palestinian territories he visited, as the Catholic leader was able to convince Israel's president, Shimon Peres, and Palestine's president, Mahmoud Abbas, to attend an Invocation for Peace at the Vatican on Pentecost Sunday.
At the peace gathering, Francis prayed for an end to violence in the Middle East. The event was also attended by Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.
"Lord, defuse the violence of our tongues and our hands. Renew our hearts and minds, so that the word which always brings us together will be 'brother', and our way of life will always be that of: Shalom, Peace, Salaam! Amen," Francis prayed.