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Flu forces pope to skip appearances

Pope John Paul II is checked by an aide at the beginning of a celebration in Sosnowiec, Poland, Tuesday after the pontiff was stricken with a mild case of the flu and canceled the rest of the day's appearances. The cancellation included what was to be the biggest event on the 79-year-old Polish-born pontiff's two-week visit, an open-air Mass attended by about 1 million on the empty plains near the National Museum in Krakow. Instead, the Mass was led by Vatican State Secretary Angelo Sodano after the crowd reacted in stunned silence on learning of the change. The sermon was read in Polish by Krakow's archbishop, Cardinal Franciszek Macharski. The pontiff developed a fever of 100 degrees Monday afternoon and received "anti-influenza" therapy Tuesday.