VATICAN CITY, MARCH 6, 2005 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II made a short, silent appearance from his hospital window, the second since his tracheotomy over a week ago.
Seated in an armchair on the 10th floor of the Gemelli Polyclinic, the Pope today waved and made the sign of the cross to bless the crowds gathered below, after he followed on television the recitation of the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square a few miles away.
At the Vatican, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Secretariat of State, read to the faithful gathered in the square the brief message that the Holy Father wrote for the occasion. He led the prayer and blessed the crowd on behalf of the Pontiff.
Similarly, pilgrims at the Vatican were able to watch the Holy Father via television screens set up in St. Peter’s Square.
Following the Angelus, the curtains of John Paul II’s 10th-floor window were opened and the Pope appeared. He was accompanied by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano and his doctors.
“Long live the Pope!” the crowd chanted.
In the address read by Archbishop Sandri, the Pope commented on preparing for Easter, together with all the faithful, and of offering “our suffering for the good of humanity and our own purification.”
John Paul II renewed his gratitude “for the many signs of affection" that he has received over the last days, in particular from “cardinals, bishops, priests and groups of faithful, from ambassadors and ecumenical delegations that have come during these days to the Gemelli Polyclinic.”
“I wish to express my special gratitude for the closeness of believers of other religions, in particular Jews and Muslims,” he added. “Some of them have wished to come to pray here, in the hospital. For me, it is a comforting sign for which I thank God.”
The Pope made a short meditation on today’s Gospel in which Christ, curing the man born blind, appears as “the light of the world.”
“He came to open man’s eyes to the light of faith. Yes, beloved, faith is the light that guides on the path of life; it is the flame that comforts in difficult moments,” said the papal address. “When a child is born, one says that ‘he comes to the light.’
“For believers, born to supernatural life with baptism, Lent is a favorable time to ‘come to the light,’ namely, to be reborn in the Spirit, renewing baptismal grace and commitment.”
This was the third Angelus in a month that the Pope followed from the hospital. The Holy Father was hospitalized the first 10 days of February, and re-hospitalized to undergo a tracheotomy Feb. 24.
Since the surgery, Vatican reports reveal steady progress in the Pope’s recovery. Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls is due to publish a new medical bulletin Monday.