Vatican City, Oct 16, 2003 / 22:00 pm
The beatification of Mother Teresa could set a new record for a celebration of this kind if calculations by Vatican officials prove to be correct. Upwards of 400,000 people, perhaps as many as a half million, are expected to attend the beatification Mass which Pope John Paul II will celebrate in St. Peter’s Square this Sunday.
This weekend at least 25,000 people from outside Italy will fly in to the Eternal City, and thousands of others will arrive by bus or train, according to estimates from the committee charged with the organization and security of the event.
The committee announced that the Via de La Conciliazione, the large thoroughfare that runs from the Tiber River up to St. Peter’s Square, will remain closed to traffic and reserved for those attending the Mass. Large television screens will be set up half-way down the large avenue, as well as in St. Peter’s Square and in the Pius XII Plaza, to enable the faithful to follow the Mass.