VATICAN CITY -- Pilgrims and well-wishers gathered at Rome's Gemelli hospital to greet Pope Francis as he made his first public appearance in a week after undergoing intestinal surgery.

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VATICAN CITY -- People can't be good Christians if they do not choose to remain in Jesus, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY -- Jesus is the good shepherd who knows, loves and defends his sheep, embracing everyone without exception, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY -- Greeting visitors in St. Peter's Square after nearly a month of tight restrictions due to the pandemic, Pope Francis said he was happy to see people allowed to gather and be present for Sunday noonday prayer.

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VATICAN CITY -- The Easter season, which lasts until Pentecost, is a time for rejoicing and for always seeking out the risen Christ, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY -- People should fast from gossiping and spreading hearsay as part of their Lenten journey, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY -- Christians must never engage in dialogue with the devil, but instead must fight against temptations with the same spiritual weapons Jesus used in the desert, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY -- When a person senses God's call, it can be intimidating or frightening, Pope Francis said, but Christians can be sure that the call flows from God's love and that responding to the call will be a means of sharing God's love.

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VATICAN CITY -- Christians are called to lead and lift people up by being close to them and sharing God's love, not by judging them, Pope Francis said.

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By taking on the frail human condition, God showed his love for humanity and his desire to share in people's joys and sufferings, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY -- People sometimes forget life's ultimate purpose is to prepare for the kingdom of heaven, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY -- The Eight Beatitudes describe the path to holiness, but the call to meekness seems particularly challenging today, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY -- The mission of the church and of all Christians is to proclaim and live the Gospel in daily life, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY - The purpose of crying out to the Lord in prayer is not to get used to suffering, but to remember that God, and not humankind, is the only source of salvation and consolation, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY - Those in positions of authority, especially in the Catholic Church, would do well to remember that their responsibility is to serve those in their care and not exploit them for their own selfish interests, Pope Francis said.

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