Pope Francis recovering after intestinal surgery

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is recovering after undergoing a planned intestinal surgery Sunday at a hospital in Rome, the Vatican said.

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The pope “reacted well” to the three-hour procedure at A. Gemelli Polyclinic, Matteo Bruni, a spokesman for the Holy See, said in a statement.

“His Holiness Pope Francis is in good general condition, alert and breathing spontaneously,” Bruni said. He added that Francis, 84, was expected to remain hospitalized for seven days, barring any complications.

The Holy See said the pope needed the procedure because of a narrowing of a portion of his large intestine that doctors say can be quite painful. The procedure generally entails removing the left side of the colon and then joining up the remaining healthy parts of the large intestine, according to The Associated Press.

The hospitalization was Francis’ first since becoming pope in 2013, The New York Times reported. Francis is generally considered to be in good health, NPR reported, although he asked the public for prayers for himself during an appearance June 27.

“I ask you to pray for the pope, pray in a special way,” Francis said, according to NPR. “The pope needs your prayers.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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