VATICAN CITY, MAR 13, 2005 (VIS) - Just hours before returning to the Vatican this evening, Pope John Paul appeared at his hospital window for the noon Angelus to greet and bless the faithful gathered in the courtyard of Gemelli Polyclinic. Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Secretariat of State, led the Marian prayer in St. Peter's Square and read the Pope's reflections while images of the Holy Father were projected on large screens.

The media was the focus of the Holy Father's Angelus reflections. "In these days I have been in Gemelli hospital," said the message, "I felt in a special way the presence and attention of many who work in the mass media. Today I wish to extend to them a word of gratitude because I know that it is not without sacrifice that they undertake their appreciated service, thanks to which the faithful, in every part of the world, can feel I am closer and can accompany me with their affection and prayers."

"In our era of global communications the role of the mass media is very important. Also important is the responsibility of all who work in this field, called to always give prompt information, respectful of the dignity of the human person and attentive to the common good."

"During Lent, which invites us to be nourished more abundantly by the Word of God, I like to think that it is possible to nourish one's own spirit even through radio, television and Internet. I am grateful to all who work in these new forms of evangelization by using the mass media."

The Pope concluded by saying he hoped to see many young people in St. Peter's Square next Sunday, Palm Sunday and the celebration of World Youth Day on a diocesan level, as a prelude to the international World Youth Day this summer in Cologne, Germany.

Pope John Paul left Gemelli Hospital, where he had been admitted on February 24 for the second time that month, just before 6:30 p.m. Travelling in a silver van, and seated in the front next to the driver, he arrived in Vatican City shortly afterwards, greeted by small crowds that lined the nearby streets as well as St. Peter's Square. According to Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro Valls, the Pope will continue his therapy and convalescence in the Vatican.