Just six years after chants of “Santo Subito” rang throughout his funeral mass, Pope John Paul II is set for beatification this weekend – the first step toward sainthood. JPII’s beatification comes after the Vatican confirmed his first miracle last January – the medically inexplicable recovery of a French nun from Parkinson’s disease after praying to the late pontiff. This weekend, in a ceremony led by current Pope Benedict XVI, JPII will become “Blessed”, and can move right along to becoming a saint if another miracle is proven. Millions of mourners gathered in St. Peter’s Square in the days following his death in 2005, and an equal number of pilgrims are expected in Rome this weekend. For more info, check out the official website, or a nice overview of the late pope’s life on Walks of Italy. Looking to observe all the pope and circumstance?
April 30th at 9pm – Prayer Vigil at Circo Massimo
The Vicar of Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallani, is set to lead a prayer vigil on the eve of the beatification. Pope B will be participating via satellite from the Papal residence.
May 1st at 10am – Celebration of the Beatification in St. Peter’s Square
Pope Benedict XVI will preside over the beatification ceremony. There are no tickets for this event, but considering that hundreds of thousands of pilgrims are expected from Poland alone, you might want to get there on the early side. Expect tight security, long lines, and, hopefully, large jumbotrons projecting the happenings.
May 1st, following the Beatification – Veneration of the Remains
The remains of the now Blessed John Paul II will be exhumed and exposed for public veneration. He will remain on view inside the Basilica, in front of the Altar of the Confession, until the flow of pilgrims subsides.
May 2nd at 10:30am – Holy Mass of Thanksgiving in St. Peter’s Square
The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarciso Bertone, will preside over a Mass of Thanksgiving