Pope John Paul II greeted tens of thousands of Italian scouts in St. Peter's Square on Saturday, saying the strong turnout by young faithful "gladdened his heart."
The pope, speaking slowly but clearly, read his entire prepared speech to the cheering scouts.
The 84-year-old pontiff, who is slowed by Parkinson's disease and hip and knee problems, also took a tour through the crowd in his wheeled throne.
The ANSA news agency estimated the turnout at 40,000. The scouts were celebrating the anniversaries of their organizations.