at the Vatican are preparing to recognize two major anniversaries
tomorrow. May 13th marks both the 89th anniversary of the first
appearance of the Virgin Mary to 3 children in Fatima, Portugal and the
25th anniversary of the failed assassination attempt on Pope John Paul
II in St. Peter‘s Square.
For the occasion, a reproduction of the statue which resides at the shrine of Fatima will travel by helicopter to the Vatican before being part of a procession--led by Cardinal Ivan Dias, archbishop of Bombay, India--along the Via della Conciliazione and into St. Peter’s Basilica.
As the statue and procession cross St. Peter’s Square, all will stop for a moment at the spot where John Paul II was shot by Mehmet Ali Agca in 1981.
Some 20,000 pilgrims are expected to gather in Rome for the celebration of the 2nd annual World Day of Pilgrims, sponsored by the “Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi.”
Following the procession, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the Diocese of Rome will celebrate Mass in the basilica, before attending a celebration and fireworks show in St. Peter’s Square in memory of the late Pope.
In honor of the occasion, the Vatican has also placed a white, marble memorial, bearing John Paul’s coat of arms and the date of the attempt at the exact location where the shooting occurred.