Pope Appears at Window, Blesses Crowrd

From ABC News: Pope Appears at Window; Aide Says Blessing for Him:

A weak Pope John Paul made a surprise appearance at his hospital window Sunday, reassuring Catholics around the world as an aide miles away at the Vatican presided for the first time at his weekly blessing.

Looking stiff and awkward, the 84-year-old Pope waved twice from the 10th floor window of the Gemelli hospital before aides wheeled his chair away.

He appeared for about two minutes with the windows closed and made the sign of the cross toward a small group of people below, some of whom broke into tears when they saw him.

The Angelus prayer usually takes place wherever the Pope is at noon Sunday. For John Paul to be elsewhere was a first in a 26-year-old papacy.

Still, the sight of the Pope, weak as he was, comforted the faithful. It was the first time he has been seen in public since he was rushed to hospital Thursday morning with acute breathing problems that necessitated a tracheotomy.

“I saw his hand raised. I’m telling you, I had faith. I’d been praying he’d come. The world still needs this Pope. I hope we’ll see much more of him in the future,” said Laura Tosti, an Italian waiting outside, her eyes welling up with tears. Minutes before the Pope appeared at the window, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri read his address for him in St. Peter’s Square and delivered a blessing that he stressed was “in the name of the Holy Father.”

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