ROME, MARCH 9, 2005 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II made a surprise appearance at a window of the Gemelli Polyclinic and blessed the faithful gathered outside the hospital.
The Pope had just celebrated Mass, with the participation of some of his doctors, and was still wearing the purple chasuble.
Shortly before, from his room on the 10th floor, the Holy Father heard the cheers and songs of hundreds of pilgrims gathered on the hospital grounds, since today would be the usual day for the Pope’s general audience at the Vatican.
The general audience was suspended, following the tracheotomy John Paul II underwent Feb. 24 to ease a breathing problem.
Next to the Pope in the hospital window was Archbishop James Harvey, prefect of the Pontifical Household.
The pilgrims outside the hospital responded with loud applause when they saw the Pope’s figure. It marked the third time he appeared at the window since his latest hospitalization. On the two previous occasions he appeared after the Sunday recitation of the Angelus.
Among those present at the Gemelli was a group of about 80 children from two schools in the province of Milan. They carried a portrait of Monsignor Luigi Giussani, the recently deceased founder of the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation.
A delegation of five children was welcomed on the 10th floor by aides of the Pope, who received drawings, letters and a crucifix from them as gifts for John Paul II.
On Tuesday, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, of the Mother of God Archdiocese in Moscow, visited the Pontiff in his hospital room. He said later that the Pope received him with a smile and asked for news on the Russian capital.
After his daily morning visit to the Gemelli, Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls reminded journalists that a new statement will be issued Thursday on the progress of the Pope’s recovery.
The Holy See, meanwhile, announced that John Paul II named São Paulo Auxiliary Bishop José Pinheiro as new bishop of Bragança Paulista in Brazil.