VATICAN CITY – The French nun whose healing was accepted as the miracle needed for Pope John Paul II’s beatification will share her story with pilgrims at a prayer vigil in Rome the night before the beatification Mass.
Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the papal vicar for Rome, said the vigil April 30 would include “the precious testimony” of Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the former papal spokesman; Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland, who was the pope’s personal secretary for almost 40 years; and Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, the member of the Little Sisters of the Catholic Motherhood, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and believes she was cured in 2005 through the intercession of Pope John Paul.
Cardinal Vallini, other officials from the Rome diocese and Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, held a news conference April 5 to discuss the details of Pope John Paul’s beatification May 1 and other events surrounding the ceremony.
After the prayer vigil at Rome’s Circus Maximus, eight churches located between the vigil site and the Vatican will remain open all night for pilgrims to pray, the cardinal said.
The cardinal also announced that prayers for the Mass and the office of readings for Pope John Paul’s feast day should be approved before the beatification, although he said people will have to wait until the beatification Mass to find out which date will be Pope John Paul’s feast day each year.
The Vatican, he said, will be “very flexible” in granting permission to use the Blessed John Paul Mass texts around the world.
Generally, when someone is beatified, only Catholics in his or her diocese or religious order can celebrate publicly the blessed’s feast day Mass. With canonization, the person – recognized as a saint – can be venerated throughout the Catholic Church.
Even after the beatifications of Pope John XXIII and Mother Teresa of Kolkata, the Vatican insisted on maintaining the restrictive rule even though bishops around the world requested permission to have feast day Masses in their dioceses.
Cardinal Vallini said that the Vatican recognizes that Pope John Paul is a “universal figure” and, therefore, public Masses are likely to be approved for more dioceses than just Rome and Krakow, where he served as archbishop.
Father Lombardi told reporters that the grotto under St. Peter’s Basilica would be closed to the public April 29 and 30 as Vatican workmen prepare to move Pope John Paul’s casket from its grotto burial site to the chapel of St. Sebastian on the main floor of the basilica.
The body of Blessed Innocent XI, who originally was buried in the chapel, will be transferred April 8 to the Altar of the Transfiguration, closer to the main altar, Father Lombardi said.
During the news conference, Monsignor Marco Frisina, director of the Rome diocesan liturgy office, released the text of a hymn he has composed for the beatification. The diocesan communications office, working with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and assisted by young adult volunteers, announced the addition of a beatification page to the revamped website for young people, www.pope2you.net.