Late Pope John Paul II on Path to Become Canonized

World | April 30, 2011, Saturday // 11:19|  views

The coffin of Pope John Paul II is now placed near St Peter's tomb, and will be on display before the main altar for the beautification ceremony. Photo by BGNES

The Vatican has brought out the coffin of the late Pope John Paul II in the crypt under St Peter's Basilica in the presence of high-ranking catholic clergy.

The coffin is now placed near St Peter's tomb, and will be on display before the main altar.

A beatification ceremony is being prepared for Sunday, May 1. Beatification is the first step towards declaring the late pontiff a saint.

Twenty two world leaders will arrive in Rome to celebrate the beatification of the Polish-born Pope.

BBC quotes a Vatican spokesman saying 87 international delegations had so far indicated they would be attending Sunday's solemn ceremony in St Peter's Square, including members of five European royal families.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims - including up to a quarter of a million from John Paul II native Poland alone - are expected to pack the square.

A number of Jews including an Israeli cabinet minister will also attend, in a sign of appreciation for the late religious leader's efforts to overcome tensions between the two faiths.

John Paul II, whose papacy lasted 27 years, died on April 2, 2005 after battling Parkinson's disease.

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Tags: pontif, Saint, basilika, Square, St Peter, ceremony, beatification, St Peter's tomb, Pope John Paul II, coffin


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