Pope Francis arrived late for his weekly address in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, explaining that he had been stuck in an elevator in the Vatican for 25 minutes and had to be freed by firefighters.
“I have to apologize for being late,” the smiling 82-year old pontiff told crowds of the faithful patiently waiting for him to appear at his study window overlooking Saint Peter’s Square.
He then explained that there had been an electrical power problem in the Vatican and that he had been stuck in the elevator until freed by the Vatican’s fire service.
“Let’s give a round of applause to the fire service,” he said, prompting cheers and applause from the crowd.
Italian television networks that live-stream the Angelus prayer had been concerned that the unprecedented seven-minute delay might have been due to health issues.
Pope Francis lost part of a lung in his youth, and the occasional grimace bears witness to the sciatic pain that is a near-constant companion. But he is generally in good health.