VATICAN CITY, APRIL 3, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Some 130,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square and adjoining streets to attend the Mass for the eternal rest of John Paul II.
“On the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday the Angel of the Lord passed by the Vatican Apostolic Palace and said to his good and faithful servant: ‘Enter into the joy of your Lord,'” Cardinal Angelo Sodano said during the homily today.
Cardinal Sodano, who presided over the Mass, put his papers to one side for a moment to assure those present, telling them that the 84-year-old Pope lived his last hours on his deathbed in “an attitude of profound serenity.”
Large video screens made it possible to follow the Eucharistic celebration, eliciting applause from the faithful when images of John Paul II were projected.
“During more than 26 years,” John Paul II “took the Gospel of Christian hope to all the squares of the world, teaching all that our death is no more than a step toward our homeland in heaven,” said Cardinal Sodano.
“John Paul II, or better still, John Paul II the Great, thus becomes the herald of the civilization of love. Conceiving this term as one of the most beautiful definitions of ‘Christian civilization,'” said the cardinal, who was secretary of state under the Pope.
Cardinal Sodano added: “Yes, Christian civilization is the civilization of love, radically different from those civilizations of hatred that were proposed by Nazism and Communism.”