Pope's impromptu blessing from hospital window
To the delight of hundreds of people gathered below, the Holy Father yesterday appeared at the window of his room at Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic today to give an impromptu blessing.
Catholic News Agency reports that the event happened just before midday loca time, following a Mass the Pope concelebrates each day. The Pope appeared wearing the purple chasuble used in the liturgical time of Lent.
As he has done on the last two Sundays, the Pope gave several blessings to those gathered in the area in front of the hospital, where he was received with cheers and songs.
Several hundred people, including school children who had come to sing beneath John Paul's 10th-floor suite at Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic hospital, cheered as his hand came into view, weeping and shouting: "The Pope! The Pope! He is blessing us!"
The particularly large crowd at the hospital was due to the fact that Wednesday is traditionally the day of the Pope's weekly general audience. Usually held at the Vatican, the audiences have been suspended pending John Paul's health conditions.
The Pope received an elective tracheotomy on 24 February to ease his breathing and hopes to be back in the Vatican in time for Holy Week.
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10 Mar 2005