I can’t wait to get to Rome on Saturday and catch the buzz. From the always-reliable John Allen:
In Rome, the old John Paul magic is very much in the air. The city is festooned with banners with the late pope’s image and sayings (including a famous line he once offered in the traditional Roman dialect, “Dàmose da fa’! Semo Romani!” – “Let’s get going! We’re Romans!”) On Saturday evening, many Romans are planning to light candles in their windows in honor of the late pope, whose beatification is the next day.
At present, city officials say they expect roughly two million people to take part in the various beatification-related events, with a crowd of at least 300,000 expected turn out for the beatification Mass on Sunday celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.
The city of Rome has allocated almost $6 million to cover expenses for the event, including extra police protection, cleaning services and transportation. Eight churches in the center of Rome will stay open throughout Saturday night to accommodate pilgrims wishing to pray, and the Vatican Museums have announced extended opening hours up to midnight throughout this week.
Here are a few more great articles on the beatification:
– “A John Paul II Beatification Catechism” (George Weigel)
– “Beatification Q&A #1 – What’s the rush?” (John Allen)
– “Beatification Q&A #2 – What’s the deal with miracles?” (John Allen)
– “Beatification Q&A #3 – Why make saints out of popes?” (John Allen)