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Monday Mass of Thanksgiving concludes beatification ceremonies

Catholic World News - May 02, 2011

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone presided at a Mass of Thanksiving in St. Peter’s Square on May 2, concluding the formal schedule of events for the beatification of Pope John Paul II.

All through Sunday night, pilgrims lined up to venerate the coffin of the newly beatified Pontiff in the Vatican basilica. An estimated 250,000 people filed past the coffin, which was placed at the Altar of Confession. The basilica was closed early Monday morning, but reopened after the Mass of Thanksgiving, and again lone lines of pilgrims queued up to pray before the remains of Blessed John Paul II.

"Today we thank the Lord for giving us a shepherd like Pope John Paul II," Cardinal Bertone said at the Monday-morning Mass. The Vatican Secretary of State described Blessed John Paul II as a pastor “who knew how to read the signs of God’s presence in human history.”

About 60,000 people attended the Mass of Thanksgiving, at which 150 bishops concelebrated. Prior to the Eucharistic liturgy, poems by the late Pontiff were read, interspersed with musical performances by the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, who had worked for years at the private secretary to John Paul II, addressed the congregation.

On Monday evening, after St. Peter’s basilica is closed once again, the coffin of Pope John Paul II will be transferred once again, to a new burial place in the chapel of St. Sebastian, just inside the main door, close to Michelangelo’s Pieta.

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