Francis had cheerfully welcomed the public to St. Peters Square before he went to the hospital to undergo surgery. He also told them that he would be going to Hungary and Slovakia in September. Francis had made the same Sunday appearance as usual to request special prayers from the public. This might have suggested that he was planning surgery.Francis asked the faithful to pray for the pope. He said that the pope needed prayers and added his thanks, saying that he was certain that he would do it.Francis is generally in good health but had to have a portion of his lung removed when he was a teenager. Sciatica is a condition that affects the lower back or leg and can cause him pain. He has had to miss some of his scheduled appearances due to this condition.Last week was a very demanding week for the pope. He had to attend Mass on Tuesday, the Catholic feast day that honors Saints Peter, Paul and, later, preside at a special prayer service in Lebanon. He also held a lengthy private audience at Vatican with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on June 28. Francis seemed to be in good spirits throughout all of these engagements.