Carole Mikita ReportingSpecial masses were celebrated today around the world, including here in Salt Lake City, for Pope John Paul II. The pontiff remains in the hospital with the flu, now upgraded to satisfactory condition.
The pope is still having some difficulty breathing and running a slight fever, but he did say mass at his bedside in the hospital along with a few trusted aids, as others were doing the same for him.
"We pause at the beginning of this liturgy, to give thanks to god, that our holy father, Pope John Paul is reported to be in stable condition today. His pontificate has been likened to that of Pope Gregory the Great who reigned at the turn of the sixth century. Perhaps someday he will be called John Paul the Great..."
Father Patrick Elliott expressed words of hope at a special mass. Every year on this day a priest blesses all of the candles -- today remembering Pope John Paul II as a bright light in the world.
Alex Khan, Reader and Altar Boy: “We’re all keeping him in our prayers and hoping he gets better.”
Alex Wardell, Altar Boy: "We'll be keeping him in our prayers and hoping he gets out of the hospital soon."
Joanne Mayo, Worshipper: “What a remarkable man he is, and we pray for his recovery. And he has held up so well and I’m sure it’s because of all the prayers worldwide that has been said for him.”
Like those attending mass in Montreal, dozens gathered to pray and light candles. In Rome a Polish Archbishop led his congregation, all praying for their native son. Pope John Paul II was born Karol Wojtyla in a small town near Krakow.
Katernia Lehj, Worshipper: “I hope that Papa will be better and he return to us and I will pray here for him.”
Flowers from foreign embassies were delivered to Rome's Gemelli Hospital.
Last Sunday, suffering with the flu, the pope released doves of peace, his breathing noticeably labored. Today St. Peter's Square was nearly deserted, John Paul having missed his regular Wednesday audience for the first time in more than 18 months. Tonight, St. Peter's was full of worshippers, all of them knowing the Holy Father has fought through serious illness before.
Pope John Paul II will likely remain in the hospital for a few more days. The Vatican is sounding much more positive about his condition.