VATICAN CITY, APRIL 5, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Everything is ready in Rome and there is still space for pilgrims who would like to come to the ceremony of Pope John Paul II's beatification.
This was affirmed today at a press conference in the Vatican, given by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Pope's vicar for Rome; Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office; and other officials.
The group informed would-be pilgrims that there is still space available in hotels and religious institutes, and that a field in the region of Fiumicino Airport will be opened for young people who want to stay in tents.
The press conference was primarily about practical details, but Cardinal Vallini also mentioned the spiritual dimension: "Saints are the Gospel incarnated, like John Paul II who demonstrated it by centering his faith on God," he said.
The Pope "spoke with his silence and taught us to die and to live at a time when euthanasia is being discussed here," the cardinal added.
On Saturday, April 30, there will be a prayer vigil in the Circus Maximus, open to everyone. The cardinal said it will "have a very universal but also very Roman tone."
He added that three honored witnesses will participate: Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, who was the Polish Pontiff's personal secretary; Joaquín Navarro Valls, Vatican spokesman during the Pontiff's reign; and Sister Marie Simon Pierre, who was miraculously cured from Parkinson's, and whose miracle was used in the cause of beatification.
Brief films detailing key moments of the pontificate will then be shown. At the end, "Totus tuus" will be sung, a song composed for the 50th anniversary of Karol Wojtyła's priestly ordination.
During the second part of the vigil, Cardinal Vallini will reflect on the spiritual and pastoral personality of John Paul II. Then the mysteries the Polish Pope added to the rosary -- the luminous mysteries -- will be prayed, with a simultaneous video-connection to five Marian shrines: in Krakow, Tanzania, Lebanon, Mexico, and Fatima.
"In the final part, we will have the joy of counting on the presence of the Holy Father [Benedict XVI] who, in connection from the Apostolic Palace, will recite the final prayer and impart the Apostolic Blessing to all the participants," indicated Cardinal Vallini.
That night, eight churches will be open along the path that leads from the Circus Maximus to St. Peter's.
Mass of beatification
On Sunday, the octave of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday, the liturgy will be celebrated in St. Peter's Square at 10 A.M.. For an hour preceding the Mass, there will be prayer, including the Divine Mercy chaplet.
There the Pope will pronounce the formula of beatification and the image of the new blessed will be unveiled.
The Eucharist will be distributed in St. Peter's Square by 500 priests and 300 others will do so along the Via della Conciliazione.
It will be possible to go to Communion in churches connected with screens to follow the Mass. Fourteen giant screens will be installed along the Via della Conciliazione and adjacent areas.
St. Peter's Basilica will be opened, where John Paul II's remains will be placed for veneration: Benedict XVI and the cardinals will pass first and the basilica will remain open as long as needed for all the pilgrims to pay their respects.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's secretary of state, will celebrate the first Mass in honor of Blessed John Paul II. It will be held at 10:30 A.M. on Monday.
Cardinal Vallini clarified that the events are being financed by institutions, banks and "with an effort on our part," so as to avoid using public funds.
A Web site for the event gives information in five languages, including an explanation of the JPII Pass -- which is not a ticket (since the events don't require tickets) but rather a pass for free access to public transport and other services.
Father Lombardi added that "Channel 105 of Vatican Radio will give information every 15 minutes in several languages."
Father Walter Insero, director of the Office of Communications of the Vicariate of Rome, noted the use of the pope2you.net Web page, to facilitate information for young people.
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On the Net:
Official site: www.jpiibeatus.org/en/site/generalInformation