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Pope cancels engagements due to cold, need to rest ahead of Middle East trip
May 16, 2014 14:48
Vatican spokesman says there are no worries about the health of the 77-year-old pope and everything was "tranquil".
Pope Francis leads his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican Sept.1, 2013.

Pope Francis Rome 370. (photo credit:Reuters)

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis has cancelled his engagements for Friday because of a cold and will not make a planned visit to a Rome parish this weekend so that he can rest ahead of a trip to the Middle East next week, the Vatican said on Friday.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said there were no worries about the health of the 77-year-old pope and everything was "tranquil".

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He said the pope was likely to resume his engagements on Saturday but that he would skip a visit to a sanctuary outside Rome that had been planned for Sunday so he could rest.

Francis is due to make a trip to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan from May 24-26. 

The pope's historic 24-hour visit to Jerusalem on May 25 has been planned to the minute by the Vatican.

His itinerary has been streamlined to fit in a plethora of visits to national landmarks, religious institutions and private meetings within a very short time frame, before he returns to Rome Monday evening.

Francis is set to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, and meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. 

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