Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Saying Goodbye to Great Pope

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Saying Goodbye to Great Pope

Article excerpt

Thousands of people are filing past the body of Pope John Paul II inside St Peter's Basilica where he will lie until his funeral on Friday.

Hours before the doors opened last night, the line stretched out of sight. By midnight, the line was even longer.

The mood outside the basilica was almost joyful, a cheerful tribute to a man who "gave people wings to fly", as one British-based mourner, a citizen of the Pope's native Poland, put it. As mourners approached the massive bronze doors after hours of waiting, they turned quiet, preparing to enter a holy place.

The wait left many people numbed with fatigue. Some elderly people fainted and several gave up. Young couples brought their infant children and older children were unusually well-behaved.

Strangers shared sweets and memories of the late Pope, carrying pictures of him and proudly showing them to people standing in front or behind them.

Many Britons are expected to join the pilgrims and tourists travelling to Rome before the funeral, set to become one of the biggest gatherings of world leaders in history. …

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