Pope Visits Young Cancer Patients From His Homeland

ASSOCIATED PRESS, June 4 — Pope John Paul II met with a group of 180 Polish children who have cancer, the wire service reported.

The Pope, who has been hospitalized several times during his papacy, told the children, “I know how difficult the experience of illness is, especially for a child.” He prayed that they be “strong in spirit,” and said, “Even in illness a great good is accomplished both in the sick person and in the hearts of those who are near.”

Bishop Tells Story of Pope's Brush With Death

L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO, May 30 — “Have we said Compline?”

That was the first thing Pope John Paul II said when he regained consciousness after his operation to remove a bullet fired by a would-be assassin in 1981. Bishop Stanislaw Dziwisz described the assassination attempt in his address accepting an honorary doctorate from the University of Lublin on the 20th anniversary of the failed assault on the Pope's life, the Vatican newspaper reported.

When the bullets hit, the Pope collapsed into Bishop Dziwisz's arms. “An invisible power came into action, making it possible to save the life of the Holy Father,” the bishop recalled. The Pope whispered prayers as the ambulance rushed him to the Gemelli Polyclinic.

Doctors at the Polyclinic “gave their blood without a qualm” for transfusions. Bishop Dziwisz administered the anointing of the sick, and the Pope soon began to regain strength. In the days after the operation, he concelebrated the Eucharist in his hospital bed.