John Paul II Hears Confessions in St. Peter's

Continues His Custom on Good Friday

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 18, 2003 ( Continuing his Good Friday custom, John Paul II administered the sacrament of reconciliation to penitents in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Pope arrived in the basilica, seated on a movable throne, to the applause of pilgrims. He entered a confessional and proceeded to hear the confessions of 10 people.

The number of faithful had waited for hours for the chance to go to confession with the Holy Father. A priest from the Papal Household chose at random the penitents — six women, including one in a police uniform, and four men.

The Pope likely may have confessed the penitents in six languages: Italian, French, English, Polish, Ukrainian and Portuguese.

Visitors nearby took photos of the wood confessional where the Pope offered forgiveness for sins in the name of the Trinity. Other confessors were also available in the basilica.

John Paul II spent up to 10 minutes with each penitent. He left the basilica at 1:10 p.m., but not before telling those present, «I wish you all a happy Easter,» and giving a farewell blessing.

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