Pilgrims in Rome are attending ceremonies today, marking the first anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II.
Karol Wojtyla, who was born in Poland, died on the second of April 2005 at the age of 84. Vatican City officials are preparing for the arrival of more than 100,000 people, meaning plenty of work for the Italian Civil Protection. One representative said: “We’re providing all the assistance possible here on St. Peter’s Square, that means distributing water, if necessary, and we’re already putting up centres for people with health problems. That way, we’re ready to act.” Tourists have been queuing up to enter the Basilica, eager to visit the crypt and see the Pope’s tomb. Last year the world watched as John Paul II, who served for more than 25 years as leader of the Catholic Church, was repeatedly taken into hospital. After he died, more than four million people descended on the Vatican to pay their final respects. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected at special events today in his home country, while many Poles have travelled to the Italian capital.