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Rome Reports

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Selfies, hugs and tears mark Pope's gathering with the sick before his general audience

The Pope has made it a tradition to greet sick and disabled people once his weekly general audience ends. But in the past two weeks Pope Francis has opted to do it beforehand. Individuals with disabilities or suffering from illnesses watched the audience from the comfort of Paul VI Hall, to shelter them from the heat and the rain. A few minutes before it started, Pope Francis stopped by to greet them. The Pope spent 30 minutes with the group. He not only greeted the few up on the stage, but he stepped down towards the rest of the crowd. His weariness was clear as he blessed the group, before taking off. His voice trailed as he recited a Hail Mary. ; But any sign of fatigue disappeared the moment he stepped out into St. Peter's Square. He displayed the energy and bounce he's known for, and that pilgrims expect every Wednesday. ; The Pope has always made it a priority to meet with people suffering from illnesses. It would come as no surprise if from now on, this greeting became another part of his unique traditions. JRB/RCA CTV VM -BN Up:YJA ;