The Vatican says Pope John Paul II will participate in the weekly Angelus prayer from his hospital room, appearing at the window to offer a silent blessing to the faithful.

The pope is recovering from surgery to help him breathe, and has been ordered by doctors not to speak. Last Sunday, just three days after a tube was inserted in his windpipe, the pope made a surprise appearance at his hospital window, waving and making the sign of the cross.

Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, himself a medical doctor, says the 84-year-old pontiff's health is "progressively improving," and he might be released from the hospital by Easter, on March 27.

Although not allowed to talk, John Paul II continues breathing and speech therapy.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.