VATICAN CITY, March 27 (UPI) -- Pope John Paul II did not speak to Easter Sunday crowds at St. Peter's Square, but silently blessed thousands of pilgrims who wept and cheered.
The pope, who underwent a tracheotomy to relieve severe breathing problems in February, seemed to be trying to speak into a microphone from his window facing St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, CNN reported. But after making a few sounds, the microphone was taken away and the pontiff made the sign of the cross.
The pope remained at the window for 12 minutes.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who also presided over the Easter mass, read the traditional Urbi et Orbi -- city and world - blessing, CNN said.
It was the first time in his 26-year papacy that the 84-year-old pontiff, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, had not celebrated Easter mass himself.