Saint Pope John Paul II (Part 6 - Death and Funeral)


Pope John Paul II was known as an avid sportsman, frequently jogging in the Vatican gardens, swimming and was known to be fond of football. The assassination attempts, cancer scares and wear and tear of serving twenty five years as Pope began to affect his body and in 2001 Pope John Paul II was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (Publically acknowledged by the Vatican in 2003). On February 1st, 2005, the Pope was rushed to Gemelli hospital while suffering flow a severe bout of influenza. He would be released from the hospital quickly, but returned to the hospital to undergo a tracheotomy. The procedure went smooth, and while recovering, Doctor Navarro-Valls told journalists:


"What I can say is that when he went back to his room, the anesthesia was very light, given the light surgery that he had, and he made a gesture saying he wanted to write.
And he wrote, jokingly, 'What have they done to me? But right afterwards he wrote (his motto): 'Totus tuus' (I am all yours)."

On March 31st, 2005, Pope John Paul II developed septic shock from a particularly severe UTI and was monitored by consultants and doctors at his private residence. Later in the day, Vatican sources reported that he had been given the Anointing of the Sick by his personal friend and secretary Stanislaw Dziwisz. On April 1st the fever had led to full septic shock and the "complete breakdown of the cardiovascular system". As thousands of people gathered in vigil at Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican for prayer, Pope John Paul II said:


"I have searched for you, and now you have come to me, and I thank you."

The following day Mass was celebrated at his bedside. At 3:30 in the afternoon, speaking Polish, Pope John Paul II said aloud:


"Pozwólcie mi odejść do domu Ojca" (Allow me to depart to the house of the Father)

Pope John Paul II passed away at 7:37 UTC of heart failure.


The Rite of Visitation took place from April 4th to April 7th 2005 at Saint Peter's Basilica. His final will and testament revealed that the Pope ultimately left the final decision of burial to the College of Cardinals. The Requiem Mass was held on April 8th 2005. Four Kings, five Queens, 70 prime ministers and presidents and 14 leaders of religious organizations attended with an estimated four million gathered around Vatican City. A full list of dignitaries can be found here.

The then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger serving as the Dean of the College of Cardinals conducted the ceremony and Pope John Paul II was interred in the grottos under the basilica known as the Tomb of the Popes.


Almost immediately Pope John Paul II was referred as "John Paul the Great" - the fourth ever Pope with this title (Popes Leo I, Gregory I, and Nicholas I). During the funeral Mass, crowds assembled outside began shouting


Santo Subito! (Make him a Saint immediately!)



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