Pope John Paul's coffin to be exhumed for beatification
Published 19/02/2011 | 05:00
Faithful attending the beatification of Pope John Paul in Rome will be able to pray before his coffin, which will be exhumed for the event, the Vatican said yesterday.
The Vatican also warned the faithful around the world not to fall prey to fraudsters, particularly on the internet, who were selling tickets to the beatification ceremony on May 1.
"For the beatification Mass of Pope John Paul II, as made clear from the outset, no tickets are required," the Vatican said.
It said people should also steer clear of tour operators promising to procure tickets as part of their packages.
Italian authorities and church officials say perhaps more than a million people may attend the Mass at which John Paul, who died in 2005, will be declared a blessed of the Church and move one step closer to sainthood.
The ceremony in St Peter's Square, one of several over three days, will hark back to the funeral of the charismatic pope, which was one of the biggest media events of the new century.
John Paul's wooden coffin will be exhumed from its current place in the crypts below St Peter's Basilica.
After the beatification Mass in the square it will be placed before the main altar inside the basilica. The closed coffin will remain there for viewing and veneration non-stop until everyone who wants to can see it, the Vatican said.