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Pope blesses crowd from St Peter's studio

Returning to his studio window above St Peter's Square yesterday, Pope John Paul addressed a sea of worshippers with a strong assurance that he's on the rebound after his ten day hospitalisation.

An aide delivered most of the message, but at the very end the pope's voice rang out clearly: "Happy Sunday to everybody. Thank you."

The 84-year-old looked alert as he waved to the crowd with a trembling hand. He gave a brief greeting before Argentine Archbishop Leonardo Sandri carried on with the address. Thousands of pilgrims applauded and some shouted "Viva il Papa!" or "Long live the pope!"

"We meet again in this place to praise the Lord," the pope said in his message, read by the bishop.

The pope was rushed to a Rome hospital on 1 February with breathing difficulties after coming down with the flu. He returned to the Vatican (news - web sites) Thursday.

In a subtle rebuttal to rumors the pope might step down because of his frail health, the bishop read on the pope's behalf a message saying: "I always need your help before the Lord, for carrying out my mission that Jesus entrusted to me."

His message included an appeal for Iraqi hostages, including kidnapped Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena.

On Friday, the pope's first full day out of the hospital, the Vatican's official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, also sought to quash resignation rumors with the headline: "The rudder is still in his hands."

Pope Greets Crowd at St. Peter's (Associated Press/Yahoo 13/2/05)

Pope out of hospital (CathNews 11/2/05)
Pope distributes ashes to doctors in hospital room Mass (CathNews 10/2/05)
Vatican No. 2 says resignation a matter for Pope's conscience (CathNews 8/2/05)
Recovering Pope makes public appearance (CathNews 7/2/05)
Pope thanks faithful for their prayers (CathNews 4/2/05)
Media makes big deal of Pope's 'little fever' (CathNews 3/2/05)
Pope urges improved screening for seminarians (CathNews 2/2/05)
Flu-stricken Pope lies low (CathNews 1/2/05)
Recalcitrant peace dove refuses to leave papal apartment (CathNews 31/1/05)
Pope's Lenten message urges respect for elderly (CathNews 28/1/05)

The Vatican's Lear (The Guardian 12/2/05)
Pope greets pilgrims at St. Peter's Square (Big News Network 13/2/05)
Pope appears for Vatican prayers (BBC 13/2/05)
Pope celebrates Mass from St. Peter's studio (Boston Herald/AP 13/2/05)
Leading Catholics call for ailing Pope to resign (The Independent 13/2/05)
Pope Celebrates Mass After Health Crisis (Associated Press/Yahoo 11/2/05)
Pope set to appear for Sunday Angelus (ABC/AFP 13/2/05)
The Pope blesses the faithful in St Peter's for the first time since his illness ( 11/2/05)
Pope leaves Gemelli after 10 days; aides say he'll ease into schedule (Catholic News Service 10/2/05)
Less is more: For many, pope is still leading, but in a different way (Catholic News Service 11/2/05)
Messori says John Paul II has no intention of resigning (Catholic News Agency 11/2/05)
New cardinals possible this year, says Vatican observer (Catholic News Agency 11/2/05)
Pope sends his sympathy to the sick (Catholic World News 11/2/05)
"Special greeting" from the Pope (Missionary Service News Agency 12/2/05)
John L. Allen: The pope's prognosis (National Catholic Reporter 11/2/05)
John L. Allen: Would he, could he resign? (National Catholic Reporter 11/2/05)
Pope Blesses Faithful, Voice Still Weak (Reuters 11/2/05)
Pope Misses Mass, Asks the Ill to Pray for Him (Reuters 11/2/05)
Pope Acknowledges Role of Secularism in France (Reuters 12/2/05)
Pope's return to the Vatican a message for the doubters (Sydney Morning Herald 12/2/05)
Melinda Tankard Teist: The cost of defying our biological clocks (The Age 13/2/05)
Australian ties helped shape man who could be king (The Age 12/2/05)
Pope salutes the sick (The Age 13/2/05)
Chance for public to judge Pope's health (The Australian 14/2/05)
Resignation in Pope's hands says Sodano (The Tablet 12/2/05)
Should a pope resign? (The Tablet 12/2/05)
"His Hand Is Always on the Helm," Says Vatican Paper (Zenit 11/2/05)
Pope Says Thank You to Gemelli Polyclinic (Zenit 11/2/05)

14 Feb 2005