Vatican     POPE COMFORTS SICK IN ST PETER SQUARE
Wheelchairs and stretchers filled St Peter's Square on Friday as Pope John Paul comforted the sick and anointed the dying at a special Holy Year service for the ill.
   Some 35,000 Roman sick Catholics and their caregivers from around Italy and the world were estimated to have taken part.
   A special platform was built with heating pipes under it to keep the sick warm during the service.
   The Pope appeared in relatively good form and made no direct reference to his own health problems.
   He administered the sacrament of the sick to 10 people, some of them believed to be suffering from terminal illnesses.
   The Pope told them he hoped that the encounter, one of many scheduled for various categories of Catholics during the 2000 Jubilee year, would comfort them spiritually and physically.
   There will also be days for artists, intellectuals, journalists and young people.
   
Reuters 14/2/00

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