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Pope returns home from hospital

Pope John Paul II has left his hospital in Rome, where he spent more than two weeks recovering from throat surgery, and has returned to the Vatican.

The BBC reports that he looked alert and smiling as he waved to crowds lining the road for the journey of a few kilometres from the Gemelli clinic to the Holy See. He was travelling in a gray Mercedes minivan with tinted windows rather than his more usual popemobile.

Earlier, he addressed pilgrims for the first time since his tracheotomy.

The Holy Father is expected to appear at Holy Week events later this month, but a papal spokesman stressed he would be "continuing his convalescence" at the Vatican.

It is thought the tube that was put in his throat is still in place.

When he spoke from the window of his 10th-floor room, the Pope sounded hoarse. He read only a few words from a sheet of paper but his appearance delighted those who had gathered below.

In Polish, he thanked a group of pilgrims who had travelled from his birthplace in the southern Polish town of Wadowice to be among the crowd.

And in Italian, he said: "Dear brothers and sisters, thank you for your visit. To everyone, have a good Sunday and a good week."

Pope returns to Vatican after op (BBC 13/3/05)

Pope to come home for Holy Week (CathNews 11/3/05)
Pope a non-starter for Holy Week (CathNews 9/3/05)
Pope told to use gestures to spare voice (CathNews 8/3/05)
Pope's message to Berlusconi on hero Nicola Calipari (CathNews 7/3/05)
Pope hoping to be home for Easter (CathNews 4/3/05)
Cardinal urges pope to keep World Youth Day commitment (CathNews 4/3/05)
Pope celebrates Mass in hospital room (CathNews 2/3/05)
Chilean cardinal to announce Pope's successor (CathNews 1/3/05)
Pell backs Pope resolve to carry on (CathNews 28/2/05)
Pope set for tracheotomy procedure (CathNews 25/2/05)
Mixed signals on Pope recovery (CathNews 23/2/05)
New Pope book hits Jewish sensitivities (ICathNews 21/2/05)
Pope tells media to promote truth, not trash (CathNews 22/2/05)
Vatican official urges effort to reach lapsed Catholics (CathNews 4/6/04)
Pope again encourages use of Internet for evangelisation (CathNews 18/2/04)
Vatican official urges advertising that promotes human dignity (CathNews 29/10/03)
64% in US use Internet for religious reasons (CathNews 19/5/04)
Pope says truth in media serves cause of peace (CathNews 26/3/03)

Pope prepares for window appearance (Seven News/Australian Associated Press 13/3/05)
Pope leaves hospital after 18-day stay (ABC News 14/3/05)
Pope's voice heard in footage from hospital ( 11/3/05)
Pope greets in his own voice the faithful gathered at the hospital ( 13/3/05)
John Paul II back in the Vatican this evening ( 13/3/05)
Vatican says pope in hospital 'few more days,' home for Palm Sunday (Catholic News Service 10/3/05)
Pope stresses need to reject anti-life campaigns to Tanzanian bishops (Catholic News Agency 11/3/05)
Pope's voice aired on Vatican telecast (Catholic World News 11/3/05)
Defend family life, Pope urges Tanzanian bishops (Catholic World News 11/3/05)
Pope, in Raspy Voice, Speaks Out Blessing (The Guardian/Associated Press 13/3/05)
John L. Allen: The pope is a rock star? (National Catholic Reporter 11/3/05)
Pope Speaks to Faithful, to Leave Hospital (Reuters 13/3/05)
Pope speaks first words in public since operation (Sydney Morning Herald 14/3/05)
Pope finds his voice for hospital Mass (Sun-Herald/Reyters 13/3/05)
The flag versus the cross (The Age 14/3/05)
Pope to leave hospital (The Age 14/3/05)
Pope to be discharged today (The Mercury 14/3/05)
Pope welcomes Tanzanian prelates on "ad limina" visit (Vatican Information Service 11/3/05)
John Paul II Due Out of Hospital by Palm Sunday (Zenit 12/3/05)
Pope's Voice Recorded for 1st Time Since Surgery (Zenit 11/3/05)
Pope Urges Resistance to Imposed Sterilization and Contraception (Zenit 11/3/05)

14 Mar 2005