The period of mourning, like the period of the
interregnum or vacancy, begins when a Pope dies. The day of death is counted as the first day of
this period. The College of Cardinals will also declare an official mourning period of nine days, called the Novendiales*,
which during the Vacancy after the death of Pope John Paul II began on the day
of the funeral, counted as Day 1 of the Novendiales. On each of the nine days a
different Cardinal celebrates a public funeral rite for the Holy Father,
following the Ordo Exsequiarum Romani Pontificis (2000).
For other celebrants, the Missal provides a Mass formula "For a Deceased Pope,"
and the Liturgy of the Hours an Office of the Dead, which can be used during this time, if the liturgical
season permits. In 2005, since Pope John Paul II died during the Octave of
Easter (on the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday), the initial rites celebrated for him observed the liturgical
precedence which the Octave of Easter, the Sundays of Easter and Solemnities
which are Holy Days, have (the Annunciation had been transferred out of Holy
Week in 2005 to 4 April). However, excluding Sundays, the Mass formula for a
deceased Pope, and the Office of the Dead with proper, were able to be celebrated
during the Easter Season.
Prior to his burial, and following private rites in the Sistine
Chapel, the Pope is laid in state in St. Peter’s Basilica, permitting
the faithful to pay their respects. In Pope John Paul II's case, this was
preceded by a period of visitation for the Papal Household, Civil Dignitaries
and Diplomats, held in
the Clementina Hall of the Apostolic Palace.
After the Funeral and
mourning period continues until the nine days are completed.
and novendiali (Italian):
(nine) and dies (days), meaning lasting nine days. A religious
festival of nine days length, or, the ceremonies honoring a deceased,
which in ancient Rome ended on the ninth day of death with a funereal
feast (the novendialis). The English word novena, for nine days of prayer, shares the same