Well-wishers have laid candles and flowers at the entrance of the Rome's Gemelli hospital / © AFP
Pope Francis thanked those who have sent him get-well wishes following his hernia surgery, as the Vatican said Friday he was back at work from his hospital room.
"I sincerely appreciate the prayers and numerous expressions of closeness and affection received in the past few days," the 86-year-old said on Twitter.
"I am praying for everyone, especially those who suffer. I ask you to keep me in your prayers," he said.
Francis underwent a three-hour operation at the Gemelli hospital in Rome on Wednesday, and was said to be cheerful when he woke up.
The head of the Catholic Church had breakfast Friday before spending "most of the morning in an armchair" rather than in bed, the Vatican said.
"This allowed him to read the newspapers and start working again," it said in a statement.
His post-operative recovery was proceeding as expected, it added.
Francis was continuing on a liquid diet and spent the afternoon at work and in prayer, it said later.
The pope was "touched by the many messages he continues to receive", the Vatican press office said.
"In particular, he wishes to address his thoughts and thanks to the children currently in hospital, for the affection and love received through their drawings and messages," it added.
On Thursday, the pope called to thank the mother of a little boy he had baptised while both the pope and the boy were being treated at the Gemelli at the end of March, after the family sent him a poster wishing him a speedy recovery.
At the time, the pope had been hospitalised for three nights with a respiratory infection, which was cured with antibiotics.
In July 2021, he also underwent surgery at the Gemelli for a type of diverticulitis, an inflammation of small bulges or pockets that can develop in the lining of the intestine, spending 10 days in hospital.
This time, the pontiff had been suffering from a hernia on the site of a scar from a previous operation, his surgeon Sergio Alfieri told reporters after the operation on Wednesday.
He was placed under general anaesthesia and the abdominal wall was repaired with a surgical mesh, Alfieri said.
All papal audiences have been cancelled until June 18 to give the pontiff time to recover.
Francis has been head of the worldwide Catholic Church since 2013, when his predecessor Benedict XVI became the first pope since the Middle Ages to resign, citing his failing mental and physical health.