Cardinals solidify plans for conclave, announce that faithful may visit papal grave this week


Earlier today, at the end of the Seventh General Congregation of Cardinals, the Vatican released a statement saying that faithful may begin visiting Pope John Paul II’s grave on April 13th.

Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the statement to journalists today saying, that 134 cardinals are now present at the Vatican—three newly arrived who have sworn the traditional oath.

The cardinals, he said, drew lots to choose “the three new cardinal assistants who, together with the camerlengo, compose the Particular Congregation. They are: Cardinals Angelo Sodano for the Order of Bishops, Polycarp Pengo for the Order of Priests and Walter Kasper for the Order of Deacons.”

"The cardinals”, the statement continued, “recommend to the bishops and priests of the Church to use the formula of the Mass 'pro eligendo Summo Pontifice' which is found in the edizione tipica (Latin edition) of the Roman Missal.”

In this sense the cardinals renewed with insistence their exhortation to all the People of God to accompany with intense prayers these days of preparation for the Conclave so that the Holy Spirit may assist the cardinal electors.”

Navarro-Valls noted that, "Several cardinals will lead special prayers and Eucharistic celebrations in their titular churches in Rome,” and that, "The General Congregation began to examine the expenses that must be incurred during the period of the vacant see.”

They also decided that the General Congregations would, from now on, begin at 9 a.m.

"I can add”, said Navarro-Valls, “that the Vatican Grottoes will be open to the faithful starting on Wednesday April 13, at 7 a.m.”

"Journalists interested in visiting the grave of the deceased Supreme Pontiff John Paul II must be at the Arch of the Bells entrance tomorrow, Tuesday, April 12, at 3 p.m.

The statement concluded saying that, "The cardinals, after the celebration of the Cappella Papale tomorrow, will go down to the Vatican Grottoes for a moment of prayer before the grave of John Paul II."

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