SURPRISINGLY HALE, HEARTY POPE ARRIVES IN TORONTO

TORONTO, Jul 23, 02 (CWNews.com) - Pope John Paul II arrived in Canada on Tuesday to attend World Youth Day festivities, and despite continuing media reports of his frailty and illnesses, he walked down the steps of the aircraft the brought him to Toronto rather than rely on the cargo lift that had recently been used to carry him down.
The Holy Father walked down the 25 steps from the Alitalia airliner supported by his cane and two aides. Just this past May, John Paul had to board and disembark from planes in Azerbaijan and Bulgaria using cargo lifts because of his frailty.
 Prime Minister Jean Chretien and other political and church officials greeted the Holy Father before he boarded a helicopter for a flight to a retreat center on Strawberry Island on nearby Lake Simcoe. 
The Pontiff will rest there until Thursday afternoon when he returns for the welcoming ceremony. He will once again return to Strawberry Island until Saturday when he flies back to Toronto for a round of official receptions and then the Saturday night prayer vigil with youth in Downsview Park. 
On Sunday, the Holy Father will celebrate Mass with the young people to conclude the 17th World Youth Day. He departs for Guatemala on Monday morning.
Meanwhile, the streets of Toronto on Tuesday were filled with cheering, singing, flag-waving youths who toured the sights of the city before heading to the Exhibition Place fairgrounds to watch the arrival of the Pope on a large screen. Events during the week include daily catechesis in various languages with an array of bishops, social service activities, a Procession of the Cross along a major Toronto boulevard, and an all-night vigil Saturday followed by the final Mass on Sunday. 


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