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Pope Visits Crypt to Pray for Past Popes

Francis Follows Tradition of Praying for Departed Predecessors on Solemnity of All Souls

Pope Francis has prayed for his departed predecessors and all the deceased

Last night, the Holy Father visited the crypt under St. Peter’s Basilica and prayed privately for the repose of the souls of his predecessors who have passed away, reported Vatican Radio.  The Pope’s moment of prayer has become a custom in commemoration of the faithful departed.

Yesterday, the universal Church celebrated All Souls’ Day.

Several popes are buried beneath St. Peter’s, including Benedict XV, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and of course, St. Peter. Archeologists identify the site of the Apostle St. Peter’s tomb as under the basilica’s main altar.

One of the most visited tombs is Pope John Paul II’s. His remains rest where Blessed Pope John XXIII was buried for 30 years. Not long after his beatification, John XXIII’s remains were moved to St. Jerome’s altar to enable a greater number of faithful to visit it.

Not all pontiffs are laid to rest in the Vatican Grotto. For example, Pope Leo XIII, who passed away in 1903, asked he be buried in the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

The first two days of November mark the Solemnities of All Saints and All Souls, respectively, and the whole month gives special attention to our care and concern for the dead. (D.C.L.)

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