Pope John Paul the Second has gone outside the Rome area for the first time since he was shot last May.
GV Crowds look on as Pope's helicopter lands. (4 SHOTS)
SV Standing on helicopter steps and waving to crowd. (2 SHOTS)
GV Crowds cheering.
sv Pope John Paul II descends from helicopter, being greeted by Cardinal.
SV Pope shaking hands with helicopter crew.
SV Crowd listening as Pope speaks.
GV Pope reading Mass.
GV TILT DOWN Bell TO crowds listening to Mass.
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Pope John Paul the Second has gone outside the Rome area for the first time since he was shot last May. He went on Sunday (22 November) to the hill-top shrine in the Umbrian townships of Collevalenza, and plunged into crowds in his old, vigorous style.
SYNOPSIS: The Vatican Daily L'Osservators Romano said this visit was allowing the Pontiff to restart his Apostolic mission. At least 5,000 people were waiting to greet him as the papal helicopter touched down in chill morning mist. Observers said he looked fit for this first visit outside Rome and his summer palace at Castelgandolfo since being shot twice in St. Peter's Square.
Pope John Paul was surrounded by one of the heaviest security operations ever mounted for a Papal journey, with hundreds of heavily-armed carabinieri police on guard, and people searched by Italian and Vatican security officers. Students of Vatican affairs have speculated that the Pope's renewed activity could bring in a fresh chapter in his pontificate, which has entered its fourth year. Reuters news agency has reported oblique statements from Vatican officials implying that Pope John Paul has not yet fully taken control of the Curia, the complex central body which governs the Roman Catholic Church.
After mingling with the crowds, to the discomfort of security officials, the Pontiff celebrated Mass. In a strong sermon, he once more condemned the world arms race, saying that Man's apparent pursuit of self-destruction was the work of the Devil. He asked what kind of kingdom it was that did not free Man of the Devil, whose conscience to evil created from Man's genius horrible threats of destruction. Pope John Paul also appealed for more help for the southern Italian region which the following day (23 November) marked one year since its devastating earthquake.