(Bloomberg) -- Pope Francis was released from hospital on Saturday to return to the Vatican after being treated for a pulmonary infection. 

Asked as he was leaving the hospital how he felt, the 86-year-old pontiff answered in a whisper, “I’m still alive.” He also confirmed that he’ll take part in Palm Sunday mass at Saint Peter’s Square as Holy Week begins. 

The pope was hospitalized at Rome’s Gemelli Hospital on Wednesday after having difficulty breathing and was treated with antibiotics for viral bronchitis. 

Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Francis has been the spiritual leader of the world’s roughly 1.3 billion Catholics since his predecessor’s abdication in 2013. He’s the first pope from the Americas, the first non-European to hold the post since Gregory III in the 8th century, and the first Jesuit to hold the position. 

The pope had part of one lung removed in his youth due to an infection.     

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