Vatican workers preparing for beatification of John Paul II
Workers at the Vatican have already begun preparations for transferring the body of Pope John Paul II, in anticipation of his beatification.
The body of the late Pope, currently buried in the crypt of St. Peter’s basilica, will be moved to the main floor when he is beatified. The tomb will be in the chapel of St. Sebastian, near the main door of the Vatican basilica.
Earlier this week, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints reportedly approved the authenticity of a miracle through the intercession of the late Pontiff. If their decision is ratified by Pope Benedict XVI—a decision that could be made within days—the final requirement for beatification would be fulfilled and the ceremony could be scheduled.
In a related development, a retired Polish bishop suggested that the beatification of John Paul II could take place as early as May 1. Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek pointed out that the date would be especially significant: May 1 this year will be the feast of Divine Mercy, a feast proclaimed by John Paul II.
According to Vatican sources, this is the chapel where the body of John Paul II will rest once he has been beatified. It’s located within Saint Peter’s Basilica, next to the sculpture of the Pietà, in the chapel of Saint Sebastian, which has until now held the remains of the pope from 1689, Innocent XI. With great care and absolute discretion, Vatican workers are gradually removing the tiles and decorations of this chapel, in order to prepare a new area that will house the tomb of the future blessed John Paul II. The transfer of the body is expected before late October, after the possible beatification.