John Paul’s coffin exhumed before the beatification

From CNA:

John Paul II remains moved in front of St. Peter’s tomb

Vatican City, Apr 29, 2011 / 08:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The casket containing the mortal remains of Pope John Paul II has been exhumed ahead of his beatification this Sunday.

The brief ceremony of exhumation took place in the early hours of this morning in the grotto situated beneath the high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The tomb of Pope John Paul was opened and his casket placed on a cart. The casket, however, remained unopened throughout and was covered with a large pall embroidered with gold.

Papal caskets are comprised of three components. The outside box is a wooden one, inside of that is a lead container, and the final casket–which contains the remains of the Pope–is also made of wood. Those present at the exhumation say the wooden outer layer of the casket had slightly deteriorated with age.

At 9a.m., prayers and the singing of the litany of saints were led by the cleric in charge of the basilica, Cardinal Angelo Comastri. Those joining him included Pope John Paul’s former private secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, and the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Accompanied by the Swiss Guard and Vatican Gendarmerie, the coffin was then translated the short distance to the tomb of St. Peter. It will remain there until the early hours of Sunday morning when it will be transferred to the foot of the high altar in the basilica above. It is here that pilgrims will be able to pay homage to the late pontiff on Sunday and Monday.

After every pilgrim has had a chance to pray in front of the casket, the coffin will be taken to its final resting place in the chapel of St. Sebastian, which is situated next to Michelangelo’s Pieta near the basilica’s entrance.

Meanwhile, the large tombstone which has covered the late Pope’s grave for the past six years will be taken to the Polish city of Krakow where it will be placed in a new church dedicated to Blessed John Paul.

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  1. Papabile says:

    So will the Vatican be moving Innocent XI from the Chapel of St. Sebastian? If so, does anyone know where?

  2. theloveofwisdome says:

    Its already been moved. I remember seeing a youtube video on this on the Vatican youtube page. I believe the details you are looking for are in that video.

  3. Philangelus says:

    I have a rather ignorant question. Does the innermost casket need to be opened in order to inspect his remains? I always figured that’s how they learned that several saints were incorruptible, but the article didn’t seem to mention that. (Or it DID and I need more Mystic Monk coffee.)

  4. @Papabile – Bl. Innocent IX was moved to the altar beneath the mosaic of Raphael’s Transfiguration. If you’re looking at the main altar of St. Peter’s, then Blessed Innocent balances out with the tomb of Bl. John XXIII.

  5. Dr. Eric says:

    Santo Subito!

    Are we allowed to venerate a photo of the new Blessed in our house (which we’d have to buy first.)

  6. irishgirl says:

    Dr. Eric-I think it would be all right if it’s just in your house.
    I know the ‘public’ veneration is limited only to the diocese of Rome and all the dioceses of Poland.
    I have a picture of John Paul II being embraced by Our Lady, which I bought at the Catholic bookstore I was working at the day before he died in 2005. I also have a ‘Litany of John Paul II’ that I bought when visiting EWTN in May 2005 (it was available in the Casa San Miguel Gift Shop).
    I got in trouble with an FSSP priest when I prayed that litany out loud in the TLM chapel I attended back then-can’t do any kind of ‘public veneration’ to someone who was not even beatified yet! That was a big no-no!

  7. Geoffrey says:

    They did not view the remains this time around, but I always thought that was part of the normal beatification/canonization process? Perhaps they will when it comes to canonization?

    And I have a small piece of one of his cassocks, that the Cause distributed on prayer cards. When does this “officially” become a 2nd class relic?

  8. Dr. Eric says:

    Will the chair that is kept at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis that Ven. John Paul used when he was there be counted as a relic?

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