Beatified
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Beatified

Over one and a half million pilgrims converged on Saint Peter's Square on May 1 to attend the beatification ceremony of Pope John Paul II. Among the pilgrims who came from all parts of the world were approximately 1,000 Tuscans, including the archbishops of Florence, Prato and Pistoia.

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Thu 05 May 2011 12:00 AM

Over one and a half million pilgrims
converged on Saint Peter’s Square on May 1 to attend the beatification ceremony
of Pope John Paul II. Among the pilgrims who came from all parts of the world
were approximately 1,000 Tuscans, including the archbishops of Florence, Prato
and Pistoia.

A host of religious and spiritual events led up to the
beatification ceremony in St. Peter’s Square on the Sunday after Easter, also
known as Divine Mercy Sunday.

 

Among them was the ‘white night’ of prayer, held for
the first time by the city of Rome, which began with a vigil in Circus Maximus
at 11:30pm and continued until dawn, as pilgrims and locals continued to pray
in eight churches in the city centre between Circus Maximus and St. Peter’s.

In the meantime, in anticipation of the day’s
ceremony, pilgrims were allowed into St. Peter’s Square at 2am, the night
before the ceremony; thousands camped out in the square overnight since hotel
rooms in Rome were fully booked. According to reports, by 5am the square was
already at full capacity.

 

During the ceremony, a tapestry bearing the image of
Pope John Paul II, who died aged 84 on April 2, 2005, after a long illness, was
unveiled on the front of St. Peter’s basilica as millions around the world
watched on television and the Internet. After the ceremony, the Polish pontiff’s
tomb was placed for public veneration at the Altar of Confession in St Peter’s;
on May 2 it was placed permanently under the altar of the Chapel of St.
Sebastian in St. Peter’s Basilica, near Michelangelo’s famous Pietà. It was the first Vatican event that used a host of
multimedia tools, including Facebook, Twitter and live streaming. A group of
‘digital sentinels’ took part in a social networking project,
http://www.pope2you.net, through which several social media channels reported
live from St. Peter’s. A video of the ceremony can be seen at the Vatican’s
official WebTV platform, www.vatican.va/video. The ceremony was also filmed in
3-D.  The Vatican commission
officially approved the late pope’s first miracle: curing a French nun, Sister
Marie Simon-Pierre, of Parkinson’s disease. According to Catholic Canon, one
miracle is needed for beatification and two miracles are required for
sainthood. The current pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, put his predecessor’s
beatification on a ‘fast track,’ waiving a rule requiring a five-year wait
before the start of the process.

 

Pope John Paul’s feast day will be celebrated on
October 22, the anniversary of the day in 1978 when his pontificate was
inaugurated. 

 

 

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