Pope Appearing Healthier

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 14, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II was in good humor at the general audience as he improvised words addressed to pilgrims, including many children.

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The children, who came to the Vatican today with excursions organized by Italian schools, sang songs for the Pope, whose health has appeared to improve noticeably in recent weeks.

As the Holy Father smiled, some 4,000 pilgrims began to chant: «We love you!»

The Pontiff responded: «You say: ‘We love you’ … I also love you!» He smiled again, and the audience in Paul VI Hall broke out in loud applause.

The Holy Father greeted a group of children from Belarus, who are guests of the Modugno Hospitality Group, in Bari, in the south of Italy.

John Paul II read his catechesis in Italian, which he dedicated to comment on the canticle in 1 Peter 2:21-24. He then greeted pilgrims in six languages.

The Pope’s diction was clearer than it was in October, during the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of his pontificate.

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