Stronger Pope to travel to Vatican for Wednesday audience
In a change of plans, Pope John Paul II will hold tomorrow's regular weekly public audience at the Vatican rather than at his summer residence in Castel Gandalfo.
Catholic World News reports that the Holy Father, having ended a vacation in the Italian Alps, has moved to Castel Gandalfo for the remainder of the summer. He was expected to hold all of his public audiences there for the next several weeks.
Vatican officials announced that the change in venue was prompted by the "the very high number of the faithful" who wished to attend the audience. At the Vatican, the air-conditioned Paul VI auditorium can accommodate over 5000 people -- far more than the courtyard at Castel Gandalfo.
Up until 2001, Pope John Paul had regularly returned from Castel Gandalfo to the Vatican each week to hold his regular public audience. But in 2002 and 2003, the Pope's frailty made it unwise to consider the 20-mile trip, which he once made routinely by helicopter.
This year, the Pope's remarkable physical recovery has made it possible to consider the quick round-trip visit to Rome. Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls told reporters that the Pontiff might return to the Vatican for his weekly audience in future weeks if the number of potential participants justifies the trip.
Pope, feeling stronger, will travel to Vatican for weekly audience (Catholic World News 19/7/04)
John Paul II Highlights Primacy of Interior Life (Zenit 18/7/04)
Pope Bids Adieu to Alps, and Heads to Castel Gandolfo (Zenit 18/7/04)
Pope ends Alpine vacation (Catholic World News 19/7/04)
Papal Note of Condolence Sent to India (Zenit 18/7/04)
20 Jul 2004