Pope John Paul made his first live public address to Catholic pilgrims today (Sunday) since undergoing throat surgery last month, and the Vatican says he will be discharged from the hospital shortly.

The pope seemed robust and in good spirits as he waved and made the sign of the cross from the 10th-floor window of his room at Rome's Gemelli Hospital. He spoke only briefly.

In a hoarse voice, the 84-year-old Roman Catholic leader thanked the crowd that gathered near his window, and wished everyone a good Sunday. Speaking in Polish, he also greeted some pilgrims visiting from his birthplace of Wadowice in southern Poland.

For a third week in a row, a senior aide read the pope's weekly Angelus prayer at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican.

Church officials say they expect the pope will return to his apartment at the Vatican this evening, well in advance of Holy Week services that begin March 20, one week before Easter.

The pope has been hospitalized since February 24.