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Rome expects 1 million visitors for beatification

CWN - April 27, 2011

The city of Rome is anticipating an influx of about 1 million people for the coming weekend, as pilgrims gather for the beatification of Pope John Paul II.

Hotels are almost completely booked, despite the fact that most have raised their rates—in some cases, to more than double the usual cost—for the weekend. Church-run hostels have also seen a very heavy demand for rooms.

Estimates of the number of people who will attend the ceremony on May 1 have varied widely in the weeks leading up to the beatification. Some Church officials have recently sought to downplay expectations, after early estimates that the crowd could reach 2 million.

The Vatican has repeatedly emphasized that admission to the ceremony will be free. Nevertheless, police in Rome have uncovered many cases of fraud, with opportunists selling counterfeit tickets to the beatification.

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