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Farewell to a Man of Peace Pope John Paul II
 
People all over the world said a final goodbye to the cherished Pope John Paul II on Friday. Religious leaders, presidents, prime ministers, kings and queens attended the pope’s funeral Mass at the Vatican. Millions watched the historic funeral on television.
Man of Peace Pope John Paul II
 
Paying Last Respects

The funeral Mass, which was closed to the public, followed one week of mourning. As many as 4 million faithful traveled to Rome to honor the pope in one of the largest religious gatherings in modern history. They crowded St. Peter’s Square and lined up outside the Basilica to pay their last respects to the pope.
 
 
 

The 84-year-old pope passed away on Saturday April 2nd 2005 after a long illness. His death brought about an historic outpouring of affection from people, both famous and ordinary, all over the world. On Friday (April 8th) morning, an ancient, private ceremony was held for the pope. Only high-ranking members of the church attended the ceremony, which was followed by a funeral Mass. Leaders from at least 150 countries attended the 2 1/2-hour funeral Mass. From the United States, President George W. Bush was joined by First Lady Laura Bush, his father, former President George H.W. Bush, former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Calls for Sainthood
Applause rang out as the pope’s coffin was brought out from St. Peter's Basilica under tight security. It was placed on a carpet in front of the altar in St. Peter’s Square. After the funeral Mass, the pope was buried in a crypt under St. Peter's Basilica.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the square applauded and chanted "Santo! Santo!" “Santo” is the Italian word for saint. Millions want the first non-Italian pope in 455 years to be given sainthood.

Feelings of Sadness and Hope
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a leader of the College of Cardinals and a close friend of the pope, conducted the funeral Mass and delivered the homily. Ratzinger remembered the pope’s life, from his days as a factory worker in Poland to his final days as leader of the world's 1 billion Catholics.

Often interrupted by applause, Ratzinger was choked up as he talked about the pope. “Our hearts are full of sadness, yet at the same time of joyful hope and profound gratitude," he said. At least 300,000 people filled St. Peter's Square and millions of others watched the funeral on giant television screens set up across Rome, in Krakow, Poland and elsewhere. People also gathered together to watch the funeral across Africa, Asia and the Americas.

 
People of All Faiths Honor the Pope
People of all religions, including Jews and Muslims, came to St. Peter’s to honor the pope. The pope worked tirelessly to improve relations between people of all faiths. The most widely-traveled pope in history, he was known for always seeking contact with ordinary people.

"He was a pope for humanity," said Assemian Omer Alain, 40, from Africa’s Ivory Coast. Alain attended services at Sacred Heart basilica in Paris, France. "All religions were the same to him.”

Cardinal Joseph Retzinger of Germany has been elected Pope to lead the Roman Catholic Church. He has chosen Pope Benedict XVI as His Papel name.

 
 
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