21 February 2011

Vatican Radio: Master of Papal ceremonies on JPII beatification

“It is very important to make as clear as possible that no tickets are needed, to attend the beatification of John Paul II”, says Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, Monsignor Guido Marini.

The Prefecture of the Papal Household has issued a draft program for the Beatification of John Paul II, May 1st this year. Describing it as "a great ecclesial event," the office in charge of organising audiences and handles ticketing for all papal events at the Vatican, issued a statement Friday that began “tickets are not needed to attend the beatification ceremony”.

It added that no individual or institution can demand payment for improper deals as has become particularly common on the Internet. It also reaffirms that tickets are always free at papal ceremonies and general audiences.

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, retired Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, has also confirmed an initial estimate of over 2.5 million pilgrims and faithful, from all over the world, for the ceremony of beatification of John Paul II.

The ceremonies for the beatification have been divided into five phases. The first event is an open air vigil of preparation that will take place on the evening of Saturday, April 30 at the Circus Maximus. Organized by the diocese of Rome , it will be led by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar General for the diocese of Rome. Pope Benedict XVI will join spiritually through a live video link.

The second phase is beatification ceremony itself, Sunday, May 1 in Saint Peter's Square. The celebration, which will be presided by the Holy Father, will begin at 10a.m. Immediately after the ceremony, the remains of the newly Blessed will be placed in front of the High Altar in Saint Peter's Basilica, for the veneration of the faithful. On Monday, May 2, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, will preside at the Mass of thanksgiving at 10:30 a.m. in Saint Peter's Square. Following this Pope John Paul II’s remains will be "privately" reinterred in the side chapel of Saint Sebastian, in Saint Peter’s Basilica.

Monsignor Marini, notes, “the beatification ceremony will have the same characteristics of every beatification ceremony, so during the Mass there will be the proclamation of the newly Blessed, and a brief summary of the life of John Paul II will be read. The Pope will solemnly proclaim the newly Blessed, then there will be the unveiling of the image, which will hang in front of the Basilica, from the central balcony, and then also the veneration of a relic that will be taken at the time. These are the various phases of the rite of beatification, inserted within the Eucharistic celebration”.

Regarding the exposition of the coffin of the newly blessed Monsignor Marini adds; “it was decided as follows: the coffin containing the remains of John Paul II, suitably embellished – so we cannot see the body of John Paul II - will be placed in the Basilica, before the High Altar, and access will be allowed to pilgrims for a brief moment of prayer. We thought to expose the coffin of the newly Blessed in the Basilica to foster an atmosphere of meditation and prayer, so that pilgrims can do so as a proper, authentically religious act”.