Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President and Davao archbishop Romulo Valles has made his first public appearance since suffering a mild stroke in May, as he presided over the thanksgiving Mass for the 35th Kadayawan Festival.

According to a CBCP News report, Valles admitted during his homily that half of his body was paralyzed, and his speech and swallowing were hindered during his recovery.

“It was no small sickness… I thought of a great possibility of dying,” he was quoted as saying.

“[But] here I am. I’m happy to be back! Thank you for your prayers.”

Msgr. Paul Cuison, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Davao, earlier revealed that Valles was hospitalized on May 23 and was discharged on July 6 after suffering a stroke.

The prolonged hospitalization of Valles was due to his condition being aggravated by “hospital-acquired pneumonia.”

During his absence, Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David took over as acting CBCP president.

Valles’ thanksgiving Mass was attended by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and other government officials. John Ezekiel J. Hirro