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Pope Visits Switzerland - 2004-06-05


Pope John Paul II has arrived in Switzerland vowing to continue efforts to bring the message of Christ to the entire world.

Airport authorities used a lift to lower the ailing 84-year-old pontiff to the tarmac. The pope then read his brief message in the three main languages of Switzerland--French, German and Italian.

The pope will appear before thousands of young people during his 35-hour visit. A rousing reception is expected Saturday evening when he meets with Swiss Catholic youth group members in Bern.

The Polish-born pontiff will celebrate an open air Mass Sunday in the Swiss capital.

Aides say John Paul's energy seems to have rebounded somewhat recently, surprising many Vatican observers who had thought declining health would end the pontiff's foreign travels. But the pope looked tired and had difficulty speaking on Friday, when he held private talks at the Vatican with President Bush, then read a statement summarizing their discussions

The pope suffers from Parkinson's Disease, arthritis and other ailments. He uses a specially designed throne during ceremonies to ease physical strain.

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