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Associated Press Featured Article

May 05, 2011

Faithful give thanks for John Paul beatification


VATICAN CITY (AP) — For the second straight day, Roman Catholic faithful filled St. Peter's Square on Monday in an outpouring of thanks for the fast beatification of John Paul II, a joyous celebration of the much–loved late pontiff.


"We thank the Lord for having given us a saint like himself," Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's No. 2, said to a cheering crowd estimated by the Vatican at 60,000, more than half of them from John Paul's native Poland.

The beatification Sunday, the fastest in modern history, came six years after John Paul's 2005 funeral drew calls of "Santo Subito!" or "Sainthood Immediately!" It drew 1.5 million people from across the globe, one of the largest Vatican celebrations ever and a testament to the popularity of the globe–trotting and charismatic pope.

The Mass on Monday began with a procession in St. Peter's Square of bishops and cardinals in gold and white vestments. They walked beneath a large colorful photo of a youthful John Paul that was unveiled in an emotional moment during the beatification and now hangs from the loggia of the basilica.

One cleric carried aloft a relic, a vial of blood taken from John Paul for medical tests shortly before his death. A key feature of beatification ceremonies, the relic will be available for the faithful to venerate.

Pope John Paul II's longtime secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, thanked Pope Benedict XVI for responding to the call of the faithful for the speedy beatification. The Polish cardinal also recalled that John Paul had "shed his blood for the cause of Christ" in the same square 30 years ago when he was wounded in an attempted assassination by a Turkish gunman.

In his homily, Bertone recalled how John Paul, who suffered from Parkinson's disease, served as a model of saintly life when he lost "his physical strength, his expressiveness, the ability to move, even his speech."

"He knew that his physical weakness showed even more clearly the Christ who works in history," Bertone said

Among the faithful in the square was a Polish priest, Jozef Maciag, who said he wanted to thank John Paul for his role in helping bring down communism, and for giving him the inspiration to devote his own life to God.

"I came here to thank God for the pope's ministry, which touched my own life," Maciag said.

After Monday's Mass, the basilica opened again to allow the faithful to file past John Paul's simple wooden coffin, which was placed in front of the main altar and flanked by four Swiss Guards.

The Vatican said more than 250,000 people paid their respects between Sunday's beatification Mass and 3 a.m. Monday, when the basilica was closed. The pope had been buried in the grottoes underneath the church, but his closed casket was brought to the church's center aisle ahead of the beatification.

On Monday evening, in a private ceremony, the late pope's remains were moved to a new resting place under the altar of St. Sebastian's chapel in the basilica near Michelangelo's famed "Pieta" marble sculpture, the Vatican said.

_____

Associated Press (News - Alert) writer Daniela Petroff contributed to this report.

Related Images:


 The reliquary containing the blood of late Pope John Paul II is carried in procession prior to a thanksgiving Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Monday, May 2, 2011. Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful have filled St. Peter's Square for a Mass of thanksgiving for the beatification of John Paul II. The Mass is being celebrated by the Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Among the large crowds entering the square Monday were many Poles overjoyed at Sunday's beatification of the Polish-born pontiff. After Sunday's beatification, about 250,000 faithful filed past John Paul's simple wooden coffin in St. Peter's Basilica. The pope had been buried in the grottoes underneath the church, but his closed casket was brought to the church's center aisle ahead of the beatification. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

 The reliquary containing the blood of late Pope John Paul II is carried in procession prior to a thanksgiving Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Monday, May 2, 2011. Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful have filled St. Peter's Square for a Mass of thanksgiving for the beatification of John Paul II. The Mass is being celebrated by the Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Among the large crowds entering the square Monday were many Poles overjoyed at Sunday's beatification of the Polish-born pontiff. After Sunday's beatification, about 250,000 faithful filed past John Paul's simple wooden coffin in St. Peter's Basilica. The pope had been buried in the grottoes underneath the church, but his closed casket was brought to the church's center aisle ahead of the beatification. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

 Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone blesses the reliquary containing the blood of late Pope John Paul II as he celebrates a thanksgiving Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Monday, May 2, 2011. Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful have filled St. Peter's Square for a Mass of thanksgiving for the beatification of John Paul II. The Mass is being celebrated by the Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Among the large crowds entering the square Monday were many Poles overjoyed at Sunday's beatification of the Polish-born pontiff. After Sunday's beatification, about 250,000 faithful filed past John Paul's simple wooden coffin in St. Peter's Basilica. The pope had been buried in the grottoes underneath the church, but his closed casket was brought to the church's center aisle ahead of the beatification. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

 Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, center wearing the mitre, is followed by prelates as he walks towards the alter beneath a tapestry showing late Pope John Paul II for a thanksgiving mass in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Monday, May 2, 2011. Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful have filled St. Peter's Square for a Mass of thanksgiving for the beatification of John Paul II. The Mass is being celebrated by the Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Among the large crowds entering the square Monday were many Poles overjoyed at Sunday's beatification of the Polish-born pontiff. After Sunday's beatification, about 250,000 faithful filed past John Paul's simple wooden coffin in St. Peter's Basilica. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

 Former late Pope John Paul II personal secretary Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, right, greets Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone prior to a thanksgiving Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Monday, May 2, 2011. Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful have filled St. Peter's Square for a Mass of thanksgiving for the beatification of John Paul II. The Mass is being celebrated by the Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Among the large crowds entering the square Monday were many Poles overjoyed at Sunday's beatification of the Polish-born pontiff. After Sunday's beatification, about 250,000 faithful filed past John Paul's simple wooden coffin in St. Peter's Basilica. The pope had been buried in the grottoes underneath the church, but his closed casket was brought to the church's center aisle ahead of the beatification. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

 Faithful hold a banner reading in Latin Totus tuus (Totally yours) during a thanksgiving Mass in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Monday, May 2, 2011. Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful have filled St. Peter's Square for a Mass of thanksgiving for the beatification of John Paul II, celebrated by the Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Among the large crowds entering the square Monday were many Poles overjoyed at Sunday's beatification of the Polish-born pontiff. After Sunday's beatification, about 250,000 faithful filed past John Paul's simple wooden coffin in St. Peter's Basilica. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

 Faithful hold a banner reading in latin Totus tuus (Totally yours) during a thanksgiving Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Monday, May 2, 2011. Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful have filled St. Peter's Square for a Mass of thanksgiving for the beatification of John Paul II. The Mass is being celebrated by the Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Among the large crowds entering the square Monday were many Poles overjoyed at Sunday's beatification of the Polish-born pontiff. After Sunday's beatification, about 250,000 faithful filed past John Paul's simple wooden coffin in St. Peter's Basilica. The pope had been buried in the grottoes underneath the church, but his closed casket was brought to the church's center aisle ahead of the beatification. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

 The reliquary containing the blood of late Pope John Paul II is carried in procession prior to a thanksgiving Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Monday, May 2, 2011. Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful have filled St. Peter's Square for a Mass of thanksgiving for the beatification of John Paul II. The Mass is being celebrated by the Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Among the large crowds entering the square Monday were many Poles overjoyed at Sunday's beatification of the Polish-born pontiff. After Sunday's beatification, about 250,000 faithful filed past John Paul's simple wooden coffin in St. Peter's Basilica. The pope had been buried in the grottoes underneath the church, but his closed casket was brought to the church's center aisle ahead of the beatification. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

 Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone celebrates a thanksgiving Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Monday, May 2, 2011. Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful have filled St. Peter's Square for a Mass of thanksgiving for the beatification of John Paul II. The Mass is being celebrated by the Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Among the large crowds entering the square Monday were many Poles overjoyed at Sunday's beatification of the Polish-born pontiff. After Sunday's beatification, about 250,000 faithful filed past John Paul's simple wooden coffin in St. Peter's Basilica. The pope had been buried in the grottoes underneath the church, but his closed casket was brought to the church's center aisle ahead of the beatification. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

 Former late Pope John Paul II personal secretary Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz reads his message during a thanksgiving Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Monday, May 2, 2011. Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful have filled St. Peter's Square for a Mass of thanksgiving for the beatification of John Paul II. The Mass is being celebrated by the Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Among the large crowds entering the square Monday were many Poles overjoyed at Sunday's beatification of the Polish-born pontiff. After Sunday's beatification, about 250,000 faithful filed past John Paul's simple wooden coffin in St. Peter's Basilica. The pope had been buried in the grottoes underneath the church, but his closed casket was brought to the church's center aisle ahead of the beatification. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

 Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone celebrates a thanksgiving Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Monday, May 2, 2011. Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful have filled St. Peter's Square for a Mass of thanksgiving for the beatification of John Paul II. The Mass is being celebrated by the Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Among the large crowds entering the square Monday were many Poles overjoyed at Sunday's beatification of the Polish-born pontiff. After Sunday's beatification, about 250,000 faithful filed past John Paul's simple wooden coffin in St. Peter's Basilica. The pope had been buried in the grottoes underneath the church, but his closed casket was brought to the church's center aisle ahead of the beatification. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

 A nun holds a leaflet as she follows a thanksgiving Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Monday, May 2, 2011. Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful have filled St. Peter's Square for a Mass of thanksgiving for the beatification of John Paul II. The Mass is being celebrated by the Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Among the large crowds entering the square Monday were many Poles overjoyed at Sunday's beatification of the Polish-born pontiff. After Sunday's beatification, about 250,000 faithful filed past John Paul's simple wooden coffin in St. Peter's Basilica. The pope had been buried in the grottoes underneath the church, but his closed casket was brought to the church's center aisle ahead of the beatification. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

 The reliquary containing the blood of late Pope John Paul II is carried in procession prior to a thanksgiving Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Monday, May 2, 2011. Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful have filled St. Peter's Square for a Mass of thanksgiving for the beatification of John Paul II. The Mass is being celebrated by the Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Among the large crowds entering the square Monday were many Poles overjoyed at Sunday's beatification of the Polish-born pontiff. After Sunday's beatification, about 250,000 faithful filed past John Paul's simple wooden coffin in St. Peter's Basilica. The pope had been buried in the grottoes underneath the church, but his closed casket was brought to the church's center aisle ahead of the beatification. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)





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