Rome Prepares for Double Canonization of Popes

Sat, 04/26/2014 - 06:00

The canonization of two popes, John XXIII and John Paul II, the first double canonization in history, takes place tomorrow, Sunday, April 27, in Rome.

An estimated 800,000 pilgrims are expected to invade the Italian capital, which this week has begun putting a plan in place to intensify security, especially around St. Peter’s Square, where access will be regulated and certain areas will be off-limits. In order to prevent pilgrims from congregating in Saint Peter's Square and Via della Conciliazione as early as Saturday night, the areas will remain entirely closed to traffic and pedestrians. On Sunday, pilgrims will be allowed entrance to the square only through Via della Conciliazione, starting at 5.30 am.

Giant video screens will be placed in Saint Peter's Square as well as in Piazza Navona, Piazza Farnese, Castel Sant'Angelo and Piazza S. Maria Maggiore, to show the ceremony. Three large screens will also be installed along Via dei Fori Imperiali. Viewers will be able to watch the event live in different languages.

More than 2,000 police officers will be deployed.

The Fori Imperiali street will be closed to traffic until May 4. The A and B subway lines will be operating non-stop on Saturday and Sunday, until 12.30 am on Monday. Buses connecting the subway stops with St. Peter's Square have been planned.

61 delegations representing 54 countries, 19 heads of State, 24 premiers and 23 ministers are also expected to arrive in Rome.

Churches in Rome will remain open the night of Saturday for a "white night of prayer."

Mass, officiated by Pope Francis, will begin at 10 am Sunday.