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CANDLELIGHT PROCESSION IN HONOUR OF POPE JOHN PAUL II

Date: 5.4.2005
Source: Custody of the Holy Land

On Sunday 3 April the Franciscans of the Holy Land wanted to render homage and pray for Pope John Paul II, who had gone to his eternal rest with God the day before.
For the occasion of the Pope's death they organized a candlelight procession which left the Franciscan parish church of Saint Saviour's in Jerusalem, and went down to the Basilica of the Agony in Gethsemani, at the foot of the Mount of Olives.  Together with the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, there were the Franciscan friars of Jerusalem, and the communities of the parish of Saint Saviour's and its dependent pastoral centres.  A great number of pilgrims also took part.
The procession was characterised by the spontaneous prayers of the participants, who prayed the Rosary, which the Pope loved so much, as well as sang hymns to the Risen Christ.
When the participants arrived at the Basilica of Gethsemani, the Father Custos read the Gospel of Jesus' agony in the garden of olives, and also a speech which John Paul II had given in Jerusalem in March 2000, on the occasion of his meeting with the representatives of the Jewish and Muslim religions.  After some hymns and moments of silence, the vigil concluded with bidding prayers which were proclaimed by religious men and women, as well as lay people living in the Holy Land, in various languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish, English, French, Polish, Russian, German and Tagalog.



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