This Sunday millions of spectators have united on St Peter’s Square at the Vatican to participate in the beatification of Pope John Paul II. This is said to be one of the largest crowds people ever witnessed there in past years.
The huge streams of commoners some 30 wide moved on the way to the Vatican area from all parts of the city before dawn to get a hold of a proper spot for the Mass where Pope Benedict was to advance his predecessor one step closer to sainthood.
Millions of people were carrying national flags and singing songs, this was one of the rearest moments that was seen in the capital city in last six years. Six years ago we came across the same scene when hundreds of thousands of people turned out for his funeral.
Countless pilgrims spent the entire night on the street to take part in the holy occasion. The whole Vatican area was sealed off as stewards marshaled the massive crowd toward St Peter’s Basilica, which was adorned with posters and pictures of the late pope.
As per the estimation over 200,000 people were present at the prayer vigil in the Circus Maximus on Saturday evening, the vast oval which was once used by the ancient Romans to arrange chariot races. Many Rome churches kept their door open to provide the pilgrims a space to pray.
At the crowd due to start at 0800 GMT Benedict will utter a Latin formula declaring one of the most popular popes in history a “blessed” of the Church.
A place of honor has been held in reserve for Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand. She was a French nun who suffered from Parkinson’s disease but whose mysterious cure has been recognized to John Paul’s mediation with God to do a miracle, thus allowing the beatification to progress.
The Vatican will have to see another miracle to John Paul’s intercession following the beatification in order for him to be proclaimed a saint.
We have been reported, around 90 official delegations from across the world, as well as members of five European royal families along with 16 heads of state, will be present at the beatification.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has been extremely criticized for human rights violations in his country will be also present at the Vatican. Though Mugabe has been banned from traveling to the European Union, but the Vatican being a sovereign state is not a member of the bloc.