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Pope Francis 'has met 12,000 people' since taking office

June 30, 2014

Since his election last year, Pope Francis has personally met 12,000 people after his morning masses, read 50 letters a day from the public and has racked up 150 hours greeting people from the pope mobile in St Peter's Square – statistics which may explain why he has ducked out of some meetings lately.

The 77-year-old pontiff had a busy Sunday, holding a 90-minute mass in St Peter's Basilica, but had previously cancelled a series of meetings, including a visit to a Rome hospital on Friday, sparking fears about his health.

But a list of his achievements and daily routine put together by Italian daily La Stampa on Monday suggests Francis is not so much ill as worn out.

Rising at 4.45am, he dresses and read cables from papal ambassadors before praying for an hour and writing the homily he delivers every morning to about 60 people who attend mass at his Vatican residence.

During the day he allows himself a 30 minute nap after lunch, but has admitted he sometimes skips it when busy. Instead of taking off Tuesdays, as popes traditionally do, Francis uses the day to clear his backlog of meetings, wrote La Stampa.

"With so many undertakings, it's clear there's a need for a break every now and then," Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said.

This weekend he will visit the Italian region of Molise following his recent trip to Calabria, where he got out of his car to bless a sick man who was wheeled up to his motorcade on a stretcher. This August, Francis heads for South Korea, his third foreign trip.

"He decides his programme," said Father Lombardi. "He lives life at an intense pace because he feels he has been called to give all his strength in the service of the Lord. Even when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires he didn't take holidays."

Source: The Telegraph



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