Pope waves from hospital window
Fragile pope appears at the window of his hospital room.
Pope John Paul II rests in hospital following surgery.
The pontiff is taken to a Rome hospital after a relapse.
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains the tracheotomy procedure.
The 84-year-old pope suffers from a number of chronic ailments.
ROME, Italy (CNN) -- Pope John Paul II, hospitalized since Thursday and unable to speak since undergoing a tracheotomy, appeared briefly in the window of his hospital room Sunday.
At the same time, the traditional Angelus blessing was conducted at St. Peter's Square without him, for the first time in the more than quarter-century he has been pontiff.
During his surprise appearance, the pope made the sign of the cross twice at crowds gathered outside Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic Hospital.
Earlier, at the Vatican, an aide read a message from the pontiff, telling the faithful he thanked them for their thoughts and support and that he was thinking of them as well.
"I do ask you to accompany me, especially in prayer," said the message, read by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, Vatican undersecretary of state. The message went on to emphasize the importance of suffering during Lent.
The pope entered the hospital for a relapse of the flu and underwent the elective surgery to relieve respiratory problems, Vatican officials said earlier. He was never placed on a ventilator, and was breathing and eating well early Friday, said papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.
On Saturday, the pope received a visit from Pierferdinando Casini, president of the Italian parliament.
"There's a serenity that gives us trust," he said, referring to the pope's "state of mind."
The pope will be unable to speak for a few days in order to rest his larynx, Navarro-Valls said. He is not suffering from pneumonia. The Vatican has said it will issue another statement on John Paul II's health on Monday.
Asked Friday when the throat tube might be removed, Navarro-Valls said, "We are going to inform you in due time."
Roman Catholics worldwide have lit candles and prayed for the life of the pope, who has led the church and its more than 1 billion followers for more than a quarter of a century.
The pope suffers from a number of chronic illnesses, including crippling hip and knee ailments and Parkinson's disease, a progressive neurological disorder that can make breathing difficult. Thursday's procedure was his 10th operation, and he has had a hip replacement and survived a 1981 assassination attempt.
Despite his health difficulties, John Paul II has insisted that he will carry out his mission until the end of his life. No pope has abdicated since the 15th century.