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Rome ready for beatification of John Paul II

Catholic World News - April 29, 2011

Vatican officials have completed the final preparations for the May 1 beatification of Pope John Paul II.

The coffin of the late Pontiff has been moved from its burial place in the grotto of St. Peter's basilica to a temporary place near the tomb of St. Peter. At the time of the beatification ceremony, it will be brought to the Altar of Confession in the basilica, where it will be available for veneration through Monday evening. At that time, when the basilica is closed, it will be moved to a new resting place in the St. Sebastian chapel, near the front door of the Vatican basilica.

Cardinals Angelo Comastri, Tarcisio Bertone, Giovanni Lajolo, and Stanislao Dziwisz participated in the brief ceremony as the coffin was moved on April 29. The ritual included the reading of the Litany of Saints.

On the same day, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, briefed reporters on plans for the beatification and the prayer vigil that will precede it.

On Saturday evening, a prayer vigil will be held at the Circus Maximus, beginning at 8 pm. The event will include music and testimonies from some of the people close to the Pontiff, including his spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls; and his longtime secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz. Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, whose miraculous cure paved the way for the beatification, will also speak.

Later in the evening, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the vicar of the Rome diocese, will lead the recitation of the Rosary. The Circus Maximus will be linked by video hookup with Marian shrines in Lagiewniki, Poland; Kawekamo, Tanzania; Guadalupe, Mexico; and Fatima, Portugal. The vigil will conclude with a video message from Pope Benedict XVI, who will give participants his blessing.

After the prayer vigil, young volunteers from the Rome diocese will encourage pilgrims to join in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament at eight churches in Rome during the night. Priests will be available to hear confessions at each of these churches.

On Sunday morning, those in St. Peter's Square will join in the Divine Mercy devotions at 9, followed by the beatification Mass at 10. During the actual rite of beatification, a giant tapestry depicting Pope John Paul II will be unfurled from the balcony of the Vatican basilica. After the ceremony the faithful will be invited into the basilica to venerate the remains of the newly beatified Pontiff.

On Monday, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State, will preside at a Mass of Thanksgiving, also in St. Peter's Square. Music for the ceremony will be provided by the Choir of Warsaw and the Symphonic Orchestra of the Radio of Katowice, Poland.

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