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Vacationing Pope goes for a drive

John Paul II has enjoyed the first car ride of his holiday at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo outside Rome.

The Holy Father spend Monday outdoors, accompanied by a "very small" group.

The destination of the Holy Father's outing was not revealed, although he likely went to the so-called area of the Roman Castles near his residence - where, in fact, there are no castles but old villas and small palaces, once the property of nobles.

The Pope is spending a good part of his holidays reading, especially in the Moor's Garden. Among other things, he is writing a book on his episcopal ministry.

At his public audience yesterday, he said that vacations should be times of "physical and spiritual rebirth".

The Pope seemed to be suffering from shortness of breath as he began his talk, but drew strength as he continued and finished in a firm, clear voice.

Zenit/Catholic World News

Vacationing Pope Greets Pilgrims (AP)

17 Jul 2003