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Pope Helps Usher in Holy Week

Pope John Paul II has helped usher in Holy Week in Rome, but only with a silent public appearance, as he slowly recovers from surgery.

The Pope appeared briefly at the window of his Vatican apartment overlooking St. Peter's Square after the annual Palm Sunday Mass. He motioned to bless the crowd with a palm branch, but did not speak.

It was the first time in his 26 years as Pope that he did not conduct the Palm Sunday rite. The 84-year-old pope continues to recover from a throat operation last month to alleviate breathing difficulties after coming down with the flu.

Palm Sunday is the day Christians commemorate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The Vatican says John Paul II remains committed to delivering his traditional Easter blessing next Sunday.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.