THOUSANDS VISIT TOMB
OF JOHN PAUL II
VATICAN CITY, Vatican, April 13 (CNA)
- Early this morning, the Vatican reopened the grottoes beneath St.
Peter’s Basilica for the first time since the death of Pope John
Thousands of pilgrims lined up as
early as 4 a.m. to enter the grottoes and pay their respects at the
pope’s simple white, marble tomb.
Last night, before the tomb was
opened to the public, many of the cardinals who will enter the
conclave to elect John Paul’s successor on Monday, spent time in
prayer before the grave.
Many faithful came bearing rosaries,
holy medals and flowers, which ushers touched to the tomb for them.
The tomb itself sits in an alcove to
the side of the main altar of the central nave, just a short
distance from the tomb of St. Peter—the Church’s first pope.
A slab of white marble marks the Holy
Father’s resting place marked with IONNES PAULUS PPII, and the dates
of his 26-year long pontificate written in Roman numerals: 16 X,
1978-2 IV, 2005.
Behind the tomb are a lily and a red
candle which burns beneath a painting of the Virgin Mary.