Pope's funeral

Funeral Mass under way for Pope John Paul II

The coffin carrying the body of Pope John Paul II is brought outside and placed before the altar on the esplanade in front of St Peter's Basilica on Friday.
Huge crowds gathered including the Presidents, prime ministers and kings joined pilgrims and prelates in St. Peter’s Square on Friday to bid farewell to Pope John Paul II at a funeral service that drew millions to Rome for one of the largest religious gatherings of modern times.

Applause rang out in the square as John Paul’s simple wooden coffin adorned with a cross and the “M” for Mary was brought out from the basilica and placed on the ground in front of the altar. The book of the Gospel was placed on the coffin and the wind lifted the pages.

A choir sang the Gregorian chant “Grant him Eternal rest o Lord,” and the service got under way. Cardinals wearing white miters walked onto the square, the wind whipping their red vestments.

“We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the father’s house, that he sees us and blesses us,”
“Today we bury his remains in the earth as a seed of immortality — our hearts are full of sadness, yet at the same time of joyful hope and profound gratitude,”

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