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Pope presides at General Audience

Pope John Paul II presided at his weekly general audience yesterday, a day after making a trip to a shrine in Pompeii, appearing alert but struggling to read his remarks.

In recent months the pope's diction has become more slurred and he often takes long pauses to regain his breath. He suffers from Parkinson's disease.

To overcome his speech difficulties, John Paul read only a small portion of his remarks, but he issued greetings in 11 languages.

Next week, the 83-year-old pope faces an event-packed schedule during celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of his pontificate on 16 October.

The pope made the three-hour trip on Tuesday to the shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary near the ruins of ancient Pompeii to pray for peace and underline the importance he gives to the rosary.

"I thank the Madonna for giving me the opportunity yesterday to visit the sanctuary of Pompeii dedicated to her," he told his general audience in Italian.


General Audience of John Paul II: Wednesday, 8 October 2003
Audience: New cycle of Catecheses on Vespers (Vatican Information Service/EWTN)
Press Conference to present Book on Pope's Writings (Vatican Information Service/EWTN)
Overview of the Pontificate of Pope John Paul II: 1989-1993 (Vatican Information Service/EWTN)
Pope introduces new theme for Wednesday audience talks (Catholic World News)
Pope's legacy of curbing anti-Semitism (Boston Globe)
Pope's 25th anniversary (The Age/AAP)
Stronger-Looking Pope Asks Faithful to Pray for Him (Reuters)yID=3569474
Twenty-Five Years (National Catholic Reporter)

9 Oct 2003