.- Trying to accommodate as many pilgrims who want to see the body of Pope John Paul II as possible, the Vatican has decided to reopen lines into St. Peter’s Basilica prior to the pope’s Friday funeral. The Vatican closed the lines on Wednesday evening to make preparations for the funeral and clean the Basilica overnight, but decided to reopen them this morning.
Some had waited 24-hours to see the pope’s body on Wednesday, but Vatican officials say that today, the line is moving a little quicker.
Pilgrims from John Paul’s native Poland have been out in force, sprinkling the line, which has been over a kilometer long at times, with waving Polish flags.
The line will be cut off again at 10p.m., Thursday night to make last-minute preparations for the funeral.
Some 200 heads of state from over 100 countries are said to be descending on Rome for the funeral, which some speculate may be the largest in history.
Yesterday, the 116 cardinals who will elect the new pontiff announced that the official conclave would commence on April 18th.