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Statement from Vatican Press Office


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Customs and Traditions
John Paul II

VATICAN CITY (CNN) -- "The Holy Father died at 9:37 this evening in his private apartment. At 8 p.m., the celebration of Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday began in the Holy Father's room, presided by Archbishop Stanislow Dziwisz, with the participation of Cardinal Marian Jaworski, Archbishop Stanislau Rylko, and Msgr. Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki.

"During the course of the Mass the viaticum (communion for the dying) was administered to the Holy Father and, once again, the Sacrament of Anointing the Sick.

"The Holy Father's final hours were marked by the uninterrupted prayer of all those who were assisting him in his pious death and by the choral participation in prayer of the thousands of faithful who for many hours had been gathered in Saint Peter's Square.

"Present at the moment of the death of John Paul II were his two personal secretaries, Archbishop Stanislau Dziwisz and Msgr. Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki and Cardinal Marian Jaworski, Archbishop Stanislau Rylko and Sr. Tadeusz Styczen, the three nuns, handmaidens of the Sacred Heart of Jesus who assist in the Holy Father's apartment, guided by the superior Sr. Tobiana Sobodka and the pope's personal physician, Dr. Renato Buzzonetti and the two doctors on call, Dr. Alessandro Barelli and Dr. Tira D'Aloo and the two nurses on call.

"Immediately afterwards, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano arrived and the Camerlengo of Holy Roman Church, Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the secretariat and Archbishop Paolo Sardi, vice-camerlengo of Holy Roman Church.

"Thereafter, Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, and Cardinal Jozef Tomko also arrived.

"Tomorrow, Divine Mercy Sunday, at 10:30 a.m., a Mass for the repose of the soul of the Holy Father will be celebrated in Saint Peter's Square presided over by Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

"At 12 noon, the Marian Prayer of Easter Time, the Regina Coeli will be recited.

"The body of the late pontiff is expected to be brought to the Vatican Basilica no earlier than Monday afternoon.

"The first general congregation of Cardinals will be held 10 a.m. Monday April 4 in the Balogna Hall of the Apostolic Palace."


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