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Frail pope asks for strength to go on

Speaking at a special Silver Jubilee Mass in St Peter's Square overnight Australian time, Pope John Paul II has called on Catholics around the world to pray for his continued strength to lead them.

The 83-year-old, who has Parkinson's disease and arthritis, was slumped in his chair but appeared alert.

Earlier, he delivered a firm message to the bishops, reminding them of their duties on issues such as child abuse and forging ties with other religions.

Heads of state and government joined 150 cardinals among the crowd in the square to hear him speak at the 25th anniversary Mass.

In his homily, the Pope said Christ was aware of his human frailty but still encouraged him to bear his responsibilities as Pope, and he asked for Roman Catholics to pray for him.

"I ask you please, very dear brothers and sisters to not interrupt this grand work of love for the successor of Peter," he said in a section of the homily read out for him by an aide.

John Paul II's pontificate has been not only one of the longest in modern times but also in the whole 2,000-year history of the Church.


Buoyed by cheers, frail pope kicks off 25th anniversary celebrations (Catholic News Service)
Pope appears in good form on eve of anniversary (Associated Press)
Thousands celebrate pope's 25th anniversary
Thousands celebrate pope's 25th anniversary (Associated Press)
Pope thankful on eve of 25th anniversary (Associated Press)
Pope Celebrates 25 Years as Head of Catholic Church (
John Paul II (Toronto Globe and Mail)
Pope gets hero's welcome on anniversary (Reuters)
Pope marks milestone (Associated Press)
Frail Pope at 25-year milestone (Independent)
Papal anniversary special for Poles (The Times)
Pope celebrates silver jubilee (ABC Radio The World Today)
Pope defies age to declare jubilee celebrations open (Telegraph/Reuters/The Age)
Pope celebrates 25-year milestone surrounded by Catholic hierarchy (AFP)
Emotional Pope Marks 25 Years, Says Will Stay On (Reuters)
Crowds gather for Pope's jubilee (The Australian)
Pope marks 25th anniversary, forging ahead with agenda (Associated Press/News & Observer)
Poles celebrate Pope's 25th anniversary (UPI)
Hunched Pope Receives Hero's Welcome on Anniversary (Reuters)
Pope Marks 25th Anniversary, Future Uncertain (Reuters)
Thousands gather to see pope at start of anniversary celebrations (AFP)
Buoyed by cheers, frail pope kicks off 25th anniversary celebrations (Catholic News Service)
Bittersweet Celebrations for a Pope and His 25-Year Reign (New York Times)
Pope Celebrates 25 Years at Head of Roman Catholic Church (New York Times)
Jubilee tributes to Pope from bishops of England and Wales (Independent Catholic News)
Thousands Gather in Pope's Hometown (Associated Press)
Solemn Mass highlights Pope's anniversary celebration (Catholic World News)
In Cracow, Following in the Footsteps of Karol Wojtyla (Arlington Catholic Herald)
Pilgrims assemble to honour the Pope's 25 momentous years (London Daily Telegraph)
Pope appears in good form on eve of anniversary (Associated Press)


17 Oct 2003