VATICAN CITY, MAY 28, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Blessed John XXIII´s mortal remains will be transferred next Sunday from the Vatican grottoes to St. Peter´s Basilica.
A Vatican statement published today says the ceremony, expressly desired by John Paul II, is in remembrance of the 38th anniversary of the “Good Pope´s” death.
John XXIII, who convoked the Second Vatican Council, was beatified last Sept. 3.
Sunday is the solemnity of Pentecost. At the beginning of the Mass, which John Paul II will preside over, the coffin with John XXIII´s remains will be taken in procession to the atrium of St. Peter´s Basilica, next to the altar erected in the Square.
After the Mass, the coffin will be taken in procession into the basilica and placed opposite the altar of Confession, where the mortal remains will be exposed in the afternoon for veneration by the faithful. In the evening, the body will be placed in St. Jerome´s altar, its final resting place.
In March, Cardinal Virgilio Noe, archpriest of the Vatican basilica, revealed that John XXIII´s body was incorrupt when it was examined during a canonical recognition Jan. 16.
The discovery does not necessarily indicate a miracle. Vincenzo Pascali, professor of legal medicine at the Catholic University of Rome, told ZENIT that John XXIII´s body was injected with formaldehyde and protected by three coffins, all of which could explain its preserved state.