In his Holy Thursday homily, Francis said he thinks often about the weariness of priests “and I pray about it, often, especially when I am tired myself”.
The Pope, who is 78 and who is known for his near-workaholic ethic, lost most of one lung in his 20s due to an infection.
Pope Francis should exercise more and eat less pasta, doctors say, arguing he has gained a little weight since he became Pope in 2013.
Doctors have said Francis needs to take some strain off his back, which has been giving him pain.
Limiting pasta consumption to a few times a week and cutting down on carbs in general, combined with longer walks, might just be what he needs, the report said.
Francis has recently said that one of the things he misses most since becoming Pope is being able to slip out for pizza.
During a visit to Naples last month, he received a special pizza delivery from a stranger who managed to get close enough to the Popemobile.
Francis clearly had the health of priests on his mind yesterday.
He urged the priests in the pews to take a rest, but to also embrace the “good and healthy tiredness” of being a good pastor.
“It is the exhaustion of the priest who wears the smell of his sheep, but also smiles the smile of a father rejoicing in his children or grandchildren,” said Francis, who shuns holidays, often works seven days a week, and rises daily at 4.30am to pray and meditate.
Today, the Pope performs the late-night Via Crucis procession at Rome’s Colosseum. Tomorrow, he presides over the Easter Vigil and a few hours later celebrates Easter Sunday Mass.
Later last night he headed to Rome’s Rebibbia prison where he washed the feet of a dozen inmates — a pre-Easter ritual designed to show his willingness to serve others. Francis has revolutionised the rite by performing it on women and non-Catholics as well, when Vatican rules call for it to be a male-only affair.
Half of those attending were inmates from a nearby women’s prison, including mothers with infants.
Francis has focused much attention on prison ministry, denouncing the death penalty as inhumane and calling life terms “hidden” death sentences.