At Gemelli, Journalists Watch and Wait

Hundreds of Reporters Gather After Pope Is Hospitalized Again

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

ROME, FEB. 24, 2005 ( A few hours after John Paul II’s readmission to hospital, the Gemelli Polyclinic of Rome was filled with reporters, anxious to hear about his state of health.

A pressroom had been set up inside the hospital, and by this afternoon more than 100 journalists had gathered there.

Many more reporters, photographers and technicians gathered outside the building, defying hours of rain and cold to focus on the window of the 10th floor where the Pope is being treated. The 84-year-old Pontiff later underwent a tracheotomy operation to help with his breathing. Valentina Alazraki, a Vatican correspondent of long experience, said that she followed Wednesday’s «video-audience» step by step, and noticed that the Pope had difficulty in breathing when reading the texts. He addressed a group of general-audience attendees in Paul VI Hall via a television linkup from his apartment.

Alazraki said the Holy See today was trying to transmit calm. In fact, this afternoon no cardinals were seen in the Gemelli hospital. The only Vatican Alazraki spotted was Angelo Scelzo, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Later, Mario Agnes, director of L’Osservatore Romano, was seen.

Father Jarek Cielecki, editor in chief of Vatican News Service, a new television service, explained to ZENIT that he has asked his Polish television viewers «to pray before the image of the Virgin of Czestochowa» for the Pope.

«The Holy Father will carry the cross while he is alive,» the priest said. «The Pope does not resign. Only God can make him resign.»

Gerard O’Connel, correspondent in Rome for Asia’s Uca News, explained that the Pope’s health problems are followed with great interest on that continent with the smallest percentage of Christians.

«In Asia, the figure of the Pope is venerated, not just respected,» he said. «I know that many pray for him in China, Vietnam, Korea, the Philippines, India, where his figure is much loved as a man of God, not as a ‘manager.'»

«All know his history and his battle in Poland; let’s not forget that communism is still in China,» O’Connel added. «The religious representatives of Asia have very much appreciated the Pope’s appeal in favor of the victims of the tsunami. They were hoping he would be able to go one day to China and to Vietnam.»

Amid all the flurry of journalists, in the serenity of the Gemelli chapel, women were seen praying the rosary before the image of the Virgin of Czestochowa.

Father Ausilio Tornambe, chaplain of the Gemelli Polyclinic, said: «Let us pray that our pastor will recover as soon as possible and return to his full effectiveness.»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation