Friday, April 08, 2005
Largest Papal Funeral in 2000 Yrs
A Huge Throng Gives Waves of Applause to a Beloved Pope:
"VATICAN CITY, April 8 - Applause rang out from a huge crowd this morning at the end of the funeral of John Paul II, the little-known Polish cardinal chosen as pope in 1978.
After a Mass that lasted about two-and-a-half hours, his plain cypress coffin marked with a cross and an "M" for the Virgin Mary was brought out from St. Peter's Basilica and placed before an altar in St. Peter's Square. The book of the Gospel was placed on the coffin and the wind lifted the pages.
The bells of St. Peter's tolled and 12 pallbearers with white gloves, white ties and tails then carried the coffin on their shoulders back inside for burial, after holding the coffin to face the multitude for a prolonged moment, as the great bell of St. Peter's pealed, and waves of applause swept through the audience.
The pallbearers finally turned again and entered the church, as the crowd held on, mesmerized. The bell tolled on and on, and at last people chatted with their neighbors and began to move away, many of them weeping."
PJPII-St Peter's Sq