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|John Paul II beatification: your guide to the ceremony|
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The main ceremony — the last step before the conferring of sainthood - will be led by his successor, Benedict XVI, in St Peter’s Basilica.
The event will be spread out over three days.
On the evening before, Saturday April 30, a vigil will be held in the Circus Maximus, the remains of the ancient Roman stadium where chariots once raced, now a large open space of grass and gravel paths.
Eight historic churches will remain open all night in order for pilgrims to pray.
The beatification ceremony will be held at St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Sunday May 1, while on Monday May 2 there will be a thanksgiving Mass and a concert.
The concert will feature people associated with John Paul’s life, such as Polish cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, his personal secretary, and Rome’s former chief rabbi, Elio Toaff, who welcomed the pope in his synagogue in 1986.
The beatification will be shown on giant screens in churches around Rome and along the River Tiber, which runs through the heart of the city.
There will also be a photographic exhibition in Piazza della Repubblica in the city centre and an exhibit of personal objects belonging to the Pope in the Capitoline Museums.
The beatification coincides with the traditional Labour Day holiday in Rome and numbers in the city are set to swell because of the two events.
Organisers say 3,000 police, 2,500 volunteers and 1,200 sanitary workers will work to keep the city safe and clean during the beatification ceremonies.
John Paul II was put on a fast track to sainthood almost as soon as he died in April 2005, with crowds outside the Vatican calling for him to be made a saint straight away - “Santo Subito!" Benedict gave the green light for John Paul’s beatification after signing a decree that attributed the recovery of a French nun from Parkinson’s disease to a beyond-the-grave intercession by the Polish pontiff.
Another miracle will have to be recognised to make John Paul a saint.
It is not necessary to buy a ticket for the event — it is free and open to all, although there is limited space in St Peter’s Square.
Turismo and Travel