2014-04-25 Vatican Radio(Vatican Radio) No one is quite sure just how many pilgrims will be arriving in Rome for this weekend’s canonisation of the two popes, John XXIII and John Paul II. But at a briefing on Wednesday morning, officials from the Diocese of Rome, the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi and Rome's City Council provided some logistical facts and figures on how the Eternal City is gearing up to host the huge numbers expected to arrive for the Saturday evening prayer vigil and the Sunday morning Mass, beginning at 10am and presided over by Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square.
Philippa Hitchen reports:
Over two and a half thousand volunteers will be working throughout the weekend to distribute four million free water bottles and hand out 150.000 free liturgical booklets. They’ll also be providing information about free access to the Mass, which will be from the river end of Via della Conciliazione, and disability assistance points, which will be located in three areas close to St Peter’s Square.
The entire zone around the Vatican will be closed to traffic but extra bus lines will be laid on from coach parking facilities and both the main Metro lines will be running non-stop from early on Saturday morning until after midnight on Sunday. Up to a thousand extra portable toilets are being set up close to St Peter’s and surrounding areas, while 17 giant video screens will be broadcasting the Mass live around the city, including one at the Terminal 3 departure lounge of Rome’s Fiumicino airport.
There will be a prayer vigil starting at 5pm in the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, followed by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and an exhibition of items pertaining to Pope John XXIII and the opening of the Second Vatican Council. Other prayer vigils, with the opportunity for Confession in different languages, will take place throughout the night in churches around the city centre, including the church of St Mark beside the Campidoglio for English speaking pilgrims and visitors.
For lots more details, maps and live video streaming, plus liturgical and inspirational material, you can visit the new ‘2popesaints.org’ website in five languages, download the free app ‘Santo Subito’ from the Apple Store and Google Player or stay tuned, right here to Vatican Radio for live commentary and full coverage of this historic weekend.