VATICAN CITY, FEB. 6, 2005 (Zenit.org).- After five days of hospitalization, John Paul II addressed the world via television to impart his apostolic blessing from the window of the Gemelli Polyclinic.
“Also here in hospital, in the midst of the other patients, to whom I address my affectionate greetings, I continue to serve the Church and the whole of humanity,” said the Pope in the message read in his name today by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Vatican Secretariat of State.
The cameras focused on the Holy Father, seated at a window on the 10th floor of the hospital, during the traditional Sunday greeting of the Pope to pilgrims.
Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls said Saturday that the Holy Father did not want to miss this occasion.
After praying the Angelus, the Pope sang the antiphon in Latin with a hoarse and tired voice and then imparted the apostolic blessing, eliciting prolonged applause among the hundreds of people who had gathered in the hospital’s courtyard.
The same applause resounded in St. Peter’s Square, where thousands of pilgrims had gathered to pray the Angelus. They watched the Pope via four large television screens.
Numerous teams of television cameramen have set up operations in Gemelli’s parking lot since the Pope was hospitalized last Tuesday night, including a team from the pan-Arabic Al-Jazeera channel. Al-Jazeera broadcast the Angelus address live.
Vatican statements have confirmed the Holy Father’s steady progress. The Holy See will publish a further statement on his state of health on Monday.
The brief address the Pope prepared for the occasion, read by Archbishop Sandri, focused on respect for life, what John Paul II considers “the first among the great challenges of humanity today.”
“One must have confidence in life!” exhorted the Holy Father. “Confidence in life is demanded silently by children who are yet unborn. Confidence is also asked by so many children who, remaining without a family for different reasons, need a home that will receive them through adoption or temporary custody.”
The Pope began his message by thanking “from his heart” all those looking after him in hospital as well as all those who “in every part of the world are close to me.”