With millions of pilgrims descending on St Peter's Square, the celebrations have definitely started early.
Just one verse each day.
There is less than a day left and the moment that millions of faithful have been aching for will have finally arrived, our great friend and teacher – John Paul II – will be canonized, along with his prececessor John XXIII.
To top it off, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will be con-celebrating the mass alongside Pope Francis, which means there will be four popes in the limelight tomorrow, on this truly historical occasion.
Millions of people have flocked from all over the world to be here at St Peter’s Square to join in the celebration. There are over 1800 bus loads from Poland alone, not to mention the ones that have travelled here all the way by foot. One group of twenty pilgrims between the ages of fifty and sixty have literally walked all the way from Poland to be here, united in prayer for their beloved Saint.
Flags from every country are waving in the crowds. Groups have set up camp on St Peter’s Square, with roll mats and sleeping bags in tow, braving the ominous clouds and the odd spot of rainfall.
No amount of rain however, could dampen the spirits of these pilgrims, who all have one word on their lips: “Alleluia.” The streets of Rome are truly alive with the sound of joy; true and deep joy in this historical event that is about to take place. The man they knew, the man they touched, the man they followed, is a Saint in heaven, to be forever interceding for them to our Lord.
The ultimate joy that these happy pilgrims remain in, is the joy found in the example of John Paul II’s life in Christ. He was a true witness in everything he did and in everything he was of the love and mercy of our Lord. And it is this that the world has come to celebrate, filling the city with song and laughter.
As the evening begins to draw on, the atmosphere of celebration and anticipation gets only more intense. The road is literally vibrating, with the beat of drums, the stamping of feet, the clapping of hands, and the voices of millions of pilgrims singing for the Glory of God.
Check out more photos of the day on our Flickr page here
Manifestazione di Gioia a San Pietro from Aleteia Italia SRL on Vimeo.