Pope's Hometown Holds Vigil

People in Pope John Paul II's (search) Polish hometown prayed Wednesday for their most famous son as coverage of his hospitalization dominated front pages and airwaves.

With the intense media focus, prayers for the pontiff's recovery were held at churches in Warsaw, Krakow and at the private chapel of Poland's Roman Catholic primate, Cardinal Jozef Glemp.

In Wadowice (search), a town of 20,000 people, prayers were offered at St. Mary's church, where the young Karol Wojtyla was baptized and attended Mass years before he became a priest.

"I wish the Holy Father good health," said Maria Pasnik, 46, a housewife. "I know the situation has improved and I pray that we can see or hear him again in Wadowice."

The pope flew over Wadowice in a helicopter while on a 2002 visit. He last visited the town in 1999, when he attended a Mass at the church and chatted with the crowd gathered outside.

The 84-year-old pontiff had a restful night after being taken late Tuesday to Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic (search) for respiratory problems while battling the flu.

"I listen to the radio news on his health," said Tadeusz Kolber, 80, a retired taxi driver, who said he was optimistic the pope would visit again soon. "Next year he will come for sure."

Mieczyslaw Malinski, a Polish priest who has been a friend of the pope since childhood, told TVN24 television that John Paul is "a strong person" and will "get well, and very soon."

The pope's illness was the top story on Polish television, radio and in newspapers. The Fakt tabloid's front page headline was "Holy Father, get well!"