Pope Gives Silent Blessing at Easter Celebration

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Pope John Paul II blesses the crowd gathered in the Vatican's St. Peter's Square

Pope John Paul II blesses the crowd gathered in the Vatican's St. Peter's Square on Easter Sunday. Reuters hide caption

itoggle caption Reuters

Pope John Paul II appeared in St. Peter's Square in celebration of Easter Sunday, but was unable to pronounce his Easter blessing to the world. Tens of thousands had gathered at the Vatican after illness forced the pope to miss Holy Week events for the first time since his election in 1978.

The 84-year-old pope viewed the crowd from his window but blessed them silently, making the sign of the cross, after attempting to address the gathering. Earlier, John Paul had chosen Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, to lead the holiday mass.

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