Between the fourth and sixth day
after death (that is, on the 5th, 6th or 7th day of the mourning
period) a Solemn Funeral Mass is celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica for a
deceased Pope. In John Paul II's case the funeral and burial was Friday 8
April 2005. The principal celebrant is always the
Dean of the College of Cardinals, who at the time of Pope John Paul II's death
was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith during John Paul II's pontificate, and now Pope Benedict XVI.
The Solemn Funeral Mass is concelebrated by the other Cardinals, the
Patriarchs, Archbishops and Bishops, Prelates of the Papal Household,
Abbots, religious and Roman clergy. Noteworthy in the Funeral Mass are the
singing of the Gregorian Introit (entrance chant) "Requiem aeternam dona eis domine" (Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord), the rite of Commendation (with the blessing
and incensing of the body), and the Farewell at the end of Mass with its
hymn "In Paradisum deducant te angeli" (May the angels lead you into
Pope is then buried. These ceremonies include covering the face with a veil of
white silk, placing at the feet of the deceased pope a red silk bag
containing bronze and silver medals from each year of his pontificate, the
reading and signing of the official notification of burial, which is then
inserted into a lead tube, sealed, and placed in the coffin. After the
coffin is closed, it is sealed and placed in a lead coffin, which itself is
sitting in an outer coffin of oak. Finally, the coffins are hermetically
sealed and placed in the “ground” (that is, below the floor level of the
crypt), over which is placed a marble slab bearing the the Pope’s name. Pope
John Paul II was buried in the grottoes of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Requiem aeternum dona eis Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Grant him, O Lord, eternal rest, and may perpetual light
shine upon him.
decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion, et tibi reddetur votum in
right, O God, to sing to thee a hymn in Zion, and in
Jerusalem render thee a vow: Antiphon
orationem meam, ad te omnis caro veniet. Antiphon
hearest our prayers, to thee all flesh must come.
Introit, Requiem Mass
In paradisum deducant te angeli:
in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres,
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.
the Angels conduct you to Paradise: And at your coming may
the Martyrs receive you. May they lead you to the holy City
Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere
aeternam habeas requiem.
choir of Angels receive you. And may you, with Larzarus –
once a poor man – Possess eternal peace.