Pope's Body to Rest Where John XXIII Was Entombed

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 4, 2005 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II will be entombed in the Vatican Grottoes, under St. Peter’s Basilica, in the same place where Blessed Pope John XXIII rested for years.

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Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls also confirmed today that the solemn funeral Mass for the Pope will take place Friday at 10 a.m. in the atrium of the basilica.

«The funeral liturgy will be celebrated by the cardinals and patriarchs of the Eastern Churches. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, will preside,» Navarro Valls said in a press statement.

«At the end of the liturgy, the casket of the Roman Pontiff will be brought into the Vatican basilica and then into the Vatican Grottoes for burial,» added the statement.

Previously, rumors said that the Polish-born Pope had left instructions to be buried in Wawel Cathedral, in Krakow.

The remains of John XXIII, who died in 1963, rested in the Vatican Grottoes until September 2000, when they were moved to the Vatican basilica after his beatification.

Italian Civil Protection anticipates that some 2 million people will attend the Holy Father’s funeral, as well as some 200 heads of state.

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