The Pope is still recovering from the tracheotomy operation he underwent Feb. 24 to ease breathing difficulties.

The Holy Father is working even as he convalesces. Today, he appointed a new bishop for Belleville, Illinois. And he is looking ahead to Holy Week, although the Holy See has not specified how he will participate in the liturgical ceremonies.

A letter addressed to the Pope from his friend Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi was published today, in which the political leader says how much he is looking forward to the Holy Father's visit on April 29 to his official residence, the Quirinal Palace.

"The tenacity, fortitude of spirit, and confidence you have demonstrated in the last weeks have been an admirable example for all: citizens, politicians, states," wrote Ciampi.

"The world has greater need than ever to hear you on Easter Sunday, and to be inspired in your moral strength and illuminated vision," he added.

John Paul II plans to impart his traditional blessing to the world on Easter.