Sat, 05 Mar 2005

From: Reuters

Pope to appear on Sunday

ITALY: Pope John Paul will appear at his hospital window on Sunday to greet the faithful, but will almost certainly not speak, his spokesman said on Friday.

Instead, as happened last weekend, an aide at the nearby Vatican will preside over the regular Sunday Angelus blessing.

"The Angelus will be like last Sunday," spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls announced after visiting the 84-year-old pope in the Gemelli hospital.

Navarro-Valls added that the pope would make the sign of the cross with his hand to people gathered outside his window.

The pope is recovering from throat surgery and last Sunday was the first time during his 26-year papacy that he failed to preside over the Angelus and pronounce the blessing.

John Paul, who also suffers from Parkinson's disease, was rushed to hospital twice last month with acute breathing problems, forcing doctors to perform a tracheotomy inserting a tube into his windpipe to let air flow freely into his lungs.

"The rehabilitation is continuing to go well," Navarro-Valls said on Friday. --Reuters