Friday, October 24, 2003

Pope Doesn't Say Mass for Students

From Welcome to AJC!:

"The Vatican dropped an afternoon Mass from Pope John Paul II's schedule Friday to give the frail pontiff more rest after a hectic week, officials said.

The Mass with university students in St. Peter's Basilica is an annual event and was confirmed by the Vatican on Tuesday.

But the pope's spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said it was dropped to ``lighten his schedule after such a busy week.''

The 83-year-old pontiff suffers from Parkinson's disease. He presided over weeklong events to mark his 25th anniversary as pope, concluding with a Mass on Wednesday with 30 new cardinals installed the day before.

He has been handing over more of his ceremonial duties and, because of difficulties in speaking, has turned over most his speeches to aides to read.
Navarro-Valls said the pope will hold his regularly scheduled meetings on Saturday.

``Almost 90 percent of the activity of the Holy Father these days has been live on television, so everybody saw him. He was a bit tired because the schedule was hectic, with many long ceremonies and so on,'' said the spokesman when asked about John Paul's health. "