Pope Back to Normal Schedule in Vatican City

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 25, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II returned to his ordinary activities after suffering from an intestinal ailment that kept him from attending Wednesday’s general audience.

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The Pope met today with a group of Philippine bishops during their five-yearly «ad limina» visit to Rome, and later received the mayor and authorities of Castel Gandolfo.

The Pope returned to the Vatican this afternoon from the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, where he has been based since early July.

John Paul II bid farewell to the priests and several religious communities of Castel Gandolfo, as well as the police who attended to his security over the past weeks.

«I ask you to pray for me and for my daily service to the Church. Pray for the now imminent pilgrimage to Pompeii, so that it will be for the Church a stage of spiritual renewal and more intense Marian devotion,» the Pope told the police. He is planning to go to a Marian shrine on Oct. 7 at Pompeii, near Naples.

On Wednesday afternoon the Pope received in audience Saverio Petrillo, director general of the papal villas of Castel Gandolfo, and the staff of the villas as well as their relatives.

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