ROME – A Vatican communique said that medical staff attending to Pope Francis after he underwent surgery for an abdominal hernia yesterday report that the pontiff is in good condition, is breathing on his own, and will spend the day resting.

In a statement Thursday morning, the Vatican said, “Pope Francis spent a peaceful night managing to rest for a long time; he is in good general condition, alert, and is breathing spontaneously.”

According to the team of doctors and nurses at Rome’s Gemelli Hospital overseeing the pope’s post-op care, his routine follow-up exams “are good,” and he will spend the entire day resting.

The Vatican said Francis has been informed of the messages of closeness and affection that have been sent to him in light of the surgery, and he has expressed his gratitude while asking faithful “to continue to pray for him.”

Pope Francis made a planned but unannounced visit to Gemelli Tuesday afternoon, where he underwent abdominal scans that identified the hernia and decided to operate. His surgery took place Wednesday afternoon, following his weekly public general audience.

The Vatican described the pope’s condition as “a lacerated incisional hernia which is causing recurrent, painful and worsening sub-occlusive syndromes,” meaning there is a hernia in the abdominal wall at the place of a previous surgical incision in which the intestine goes out and comes in, creating discomfort.

Doctor Sergio Alfieri, who performed Wednesday’s procedure as well as the pope’s invasive colon surgery in July 2021, said the hernia was the result of a surgery that Francis had while still in Argentina, and was not related to the colon surgery two years ago.

He said that condition has been resolved, and that Wednesday’s hernia procedure, which lasted roughly three hours, went well and that no other pathologies were found.

The usual recovery time for the hernia procedure lasts between 5-7 days, however, Alfieri said that given Pope Francis’s age and medical history, his stay could last a bit longer, perhaps up to 10 days.

Francis, 86, has experienced several other health maladies in recent years and months.

Last month he cancelled his routine meetings on a Friday morning due to a fever, and in late March was hospitalized for a bout of bronchitis.

He also suffers from chronic sciatica, he has ongoing knee troubles that have often confined him to a wheelchair or the use of a cane, and he had part of one lung removed as a young man after a severe brush with pneumonia.

Following the pope’s surgery. Alfieri said that the pontiff is expected to make a full recovery and will be able to return to his regular routine following his recovery, including his international travel plans, which include visits to both Portugal and Mongolia in August.

Follow Elise Ann Allen on Twitter: @eliseannallen