Pope Francis missed a step and fell to the ground on Thursday as he walked on an open-air platform to celebrate Mass at Poland’s holiest shrine of Jasna Gora.
In a shocking moment, the 79-year-old Francis, walking in his long robe with an incense holder in his hand, seemed to have not noticed a step down from the platform and fell to the ground before the altar. Francis braced his fall with his left hand and nearby priests hurried to assist him.
The Mass continued as planned and the pope delivered a long homily before tens of thousands of faithful gathered at the foot of the Jasna Gora monastery in Poland’s southern city of Czestochowa.
When questioned if Francis had suffered any ill effects from the fall, a Vatican spokesman, Greg Burke, said “the pope is fine.”
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Czestochowa Archbishop Waclaw Depo said Francis fell because he had closed his eyes and appeared to miss a step.
“He is in good condition. He did not even complain at all. He never said a word,” Depo said. “Also the homily showed that the pope has strength and this strength he gets from the people.”