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Pope Francis Gives First Public Appearance Since Health Concerns Were Raised

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis led a religious ceremony at the Vatican on Sunday, his first public appearance since concerns for his health were raised when he abruptly canceled a visit to a Rome hospital two days ago. The 77-year-old pope appeared to be in good health as he presided at a two-hour-long Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on the day the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

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Last Friday, he canceled a visit to patients at Rome's Gemelli hospital minutes before it was due to start because of what the Vatican called a "sudden indisposition." In his homily, Francis said bishops should not seek gratification by cultivating "those who wield worldly power" but to find their personal security in their vocation to help the poor. He also gave 24 recently appointed archbishops a vestment known as a pallium, a small circular band worn around the neck which symbolizes their unity with the pope. After Mass, he appeared to crowds gathered in St. Peter Square and appealed for dialogue to end the Iraq conflict.

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- Reuters

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