Friday, February 18, 2011

Pope John Paul II beatification events to last three days, all events free

The Vatican has released new details about the future beatification of Pope John Paul II.

The celebrations will run from April 30-May 2, with the beatification itself taking place on May 1. For most events, the Vatican said, no tickets will be necessary and all will be welcomed.

The festivities will begin with a prayer vigil in the huge open field of the Circus Maximus - where ancient Romans once held chariot races -- on the evening of April 30. The vigil will be led by the diocese's vicar general, Cardinal Agostino Vallini. Pope Benedict will also join the meeting by way of a video link.

The beatification will begin on Sunday, May 1 in St. Peter's Square. The Vatican said police will control access to the square, but that there will be no tickets necessary for the event.

Immediately following the beatification ritual, the remains of Pope John Paul II will be in front of the Altar of the Confession in St. Peter's Basilica for veneration.

The Basilica will be open to pilgrims for “as long as the realistic continue to arrive,” according to the Vatican announcement.

The following day, Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone will control over a Mass of thanksgiving again in St. Peter's Square.

After the celebrations, the leftovers of John Paul II will privately be interred in the Vatican basilica's Chapel of St. Sebastian.

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