Pope gets stuck in lift on way to Vatican prayers, freed by firefighters
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Pope gets stuck in lift on way to Vatican prayers, freed by firefighters

82-year-old pontiff reassures crowd that unprecedented 7-minute delay in Angelus prayer wasn’t due to health reasons

Pope Francis waves from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter's square during the weekly Angelus prayer on September 1, 2019 at the Vatican. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
Pope Francis waves from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter's square during the weekly Angelus prayer on September 1, 2019 at the Vatican. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

VATICAN CITY, Holy See — Pope Francis said Sunday he was late to his weekly Angelus prayer because he had been stuck in a Vatican elevator and had to be freed by firefighters.

“I have to apologize for being late,” the smiling 82-year old pontiff told crowds of faithful patiently waiting for him to appear at his study window overlooking Saint Peter’s Square.

“I was trapped in a lift for 25 minutes, there was a power outage but then the firemen came,” he said.

“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 had been concerned that the unprecedented seven-minute delay might have been due to health reasons.

Francis seems to have unlimited energy despite his age. But he lost part of a lung in his youth, and the occasional grimace bears witness to the sciatic pain that is a near-constant companion.

It was believed to be the first time the Vatican’s head of state, who leads the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, has got stuck in an elevator.

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