April 2 an estimated 100,000 people from around the world are expected
to participate in events honoring John Paul II in Rome and
Poland—including the carrying of a symbolic torch from the Vatican to
Police in Rome have said they expect large numbers of pilgrims, especially from Poland, to descend upon the city for a rosary on April 2 and a special Mass on April 3 celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has also announced the diocesan phase of the cause of beatification of John Paul II will be concluded on April 1.
This Tuesday also saw the inauguration of the first ever “Lolek Torch,” an event in which dozens of athletes are running from Rome to Krakow, symbolically retracing the journey of young Karol Wojtyla—who was known affectionately in Poland as “Lolek”—from his native land to the See of Peter.
According to Fides, a group of runners will pass on to one another the “Lolek Torch” in cities along the way, including Assisi, Loreto, Czestochowa and Wadowice. The torch was lit on Tuesday at the tomb of John Paul II and was received by Pope Benedict XVI today at the Wednesday General Audience. From there it will be carried through Assisi and Loreto, where a prayer vigil will be led by Archbishop Gianni Danzi of Loreto on Thursday night
On Friday runners will begin carrying it from Loreto through Wadowice to Czestochowa and then on to Krakow by April 2. There it will be handed to Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz and the faithful gathered at the Cathedral of Sts. Wescenslaus and Stanislaw for a prayer vigil lasting through 9:37pm local time, the exact moment when John Paul II died one year earlier.
The group of runners will cover some 313 miles—139 in Italy and 174 in Poland.