May 1: Pilgrims Invade Rome for Pope John Paul II Beatification. Tips & Events

May 1: Pilgrims Invade Rome for Pope John Paul II Beatification. Tips & Events

The Easter long week-end is not over yet but Rome has to focus on another huge event: the beatification of Pope John Paul II.

I know you read estimates of millions of pilgrims flocking to Rome, but the real forecast made by Rome’s Mayor for security and logistics reason is around 400,000 visitors on May 1st, about 1 million for the whole April30-May2 period. It is a lot of people, but Rome can manage them. We are used to big mass events.

A prayer vigil will start on April 30 at 8pm at Circus Maximus and will run until 10:30pm. The Pope will join through a video link-up. Both underground lines will be open until 1.30am for the occasion.

The proper beatification Mass will take place on May 1st at 10am in St. Peter’s square. Pope Benedict XVI will officiate it. There are no tickets whatsoever for this ceremony. But expect a full square. Go many hours before the Mass starts (and consider the option of spending the whole night there) if you want to be within the Vatican borders. Giant screens all over the area for late-comers.

After Mass, Pope John Paul II’s remains will be exposed in St. Peter’s basilica as long as there will be pilgrims entering the church. Underground will start operating at 4am and will run until 1.30am.

Thanksgiving Mass at 10:30am on May 2. In St. Peter’s square, officiated by card. Tarcisio Bertone (Vatican’s Secretary of State).

All Italian public museums will be open on May 1st and May 2 for a symbolic entrance fee of 1€.

The Vatican Museums will offer a reduced tickets to all the pilgrims bringing a certification from their parish, diocese or other church institution. On April 26-29 and May 2 the Museums will extraordinarily be open until midnight – last entrance 10pm.

3 photo exhibits will be dedicated to Pope John Paul II here in Rome. In Musei Capitolini “On God’s altar” will show Karol Wojtyla’s daily life from April 28 to September 25.

“Karol, people’s Pope” in Repubblica square, running from April 29 to May 13, will feature giant photos and special lights, free event.

And finally in Via IV Novembre 119a, in collaboration with the Vatican’s daily newspaper l’Osservatore Romano, 120 unpublished photos of JPII will be on display from April 28 to May 20.

Shops will be open on May 1st in the Vatican area, in downtown Rome and near St. Paul’s, and San Giovanni.

On Monday, at 7pm, there will be a free concert for Pope John Paul II in the Campidoglio square with mainly Italian music stars.

On May 18, a 4-meter high bronze statue of JPII will be inaugurated in front of Termini station.

Was any of you there for John Paul II’s funeral? Please share your memories with us.