08 April 2005

RTE News

John Paul II is buried in St Peter's

08 April 2005 18:35

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Pope John Paul's coffin has been buried in St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

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John Paul's cypress coffin with the wind blowing the pages of his last will and testament

His funeral mass in the open in St Peter's Square was attended by hundreds of world political and religious leaders in what was one of the biggest gatherings of global leaders ever seen.

Tens of thousands of pilgrims watched the ceremony in St Peter's Square, while millions more watched on giant video screens around the city.

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The mass was interrupted briefly when crowds of worshippers, mostly apparently Polish, started chanting 'Santo Subito', asking for the late Pope to be made a saint immediately.

Officials had urged the visitors to stay in special tented areas on the outskirts of Rome, but many defied the appeal and spent the night camping out near the scene of the funeral.

It is estimated that up to 800,000 people followed the event in the Pope's home town of Krakow, in southern
Poland.

The chief celebrant was the German Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger, the head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Last night, Vatican officials closed the doors of St Peter's Basilica, ending four days of public homage.

It is estimated that up to two million people filed past the Pope's body to pay their respects.

The huge security operation will remain in place in Rome until tomorrow. The authorities say they are coping with the challenge so far.

Sunset service underway

Meanwhile, several thousand people are gathered at the papal cross in Dublin's Phoenix Park for a Sunset Service of Remembrance.

It is being televised live on RTÉ Two Television.

The Taoiseach and the Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, were among the early arrivals.

Many schools around the country remained closed today and workers were allowed to take time off to attend mass or other remembrance services.

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