Saturday, April 01, 2006

Poles remember Pope John Paul II

By Adam Easton
BBC News, Warsaw

Way of the Cross ceremony in Warsaw church
Services in memory of the late Pope began on Saturday
Events to mark the first anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II are under way in his homeland of Poland.

Hundreds of thousands are expected to attend the main events, including large open air masses and concerts on Sunday.

People in churches across the country will attend special masses on Sunday to remember their beloved Pope.

Huge crowds are expected at two separate open air services in Krakow, where John Paul II spent half of his life, and later in the capital Warsaw.

Before the mass in the capital, Placido Domingo will direct a free memorial concert of Verdi's Requiem in the city's main opera house.

At 2137 local time - the exact time of the Pope's death - church bells will toll across the nation.

Shortly afterwards the current Pope, Benedict XVI, will address the crowds in Krakow from the Vatican via a satellite TV link.

On Saturday the Polish pope's former private secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, led a mass in Krakow cathedral.

It officially brought to an end the work of a Polish church tribunal set up to gather evidence in the process of making John Paul II a saint.

Many here in his homeland will be praying that process will be successfully completed soon.

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