City of Rome Ready for Canonization, Says Mayor

800,000 Expected to Witness John Paul II, John XXIII Be Declared Saints

Rome, (Zenit.org) | 1322 hits

The mayor of Rome said Thursday that they were “ready, very ready” to welcome the 800,000 pilgrims expected to descend on the city on 27 April for the Canonizations of Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII.

"The only remaining criticality is that we are expecting 2,000 coaches to arrive, while only 500 have registered so far," said city mayor Ignazio Marino. "We have asked for law-enforcement agents to be deployed at the access points to the GRA city ring road so that coaches arriving without a permit can be directed to free parking lots".

The cost of accommodation in the city center has rocketed, with some apartments being rented out for the weekend for as much as 2,500 Euros.

According to the interior ministry, the event will also draw 19 heads of State and 24 prime ministers from 61 official delegations representing 54 countries.

Marino ruled out using the Gianicolo car park near the Vatican, built to accommodate pilgrims arriving in Rome for the 2000 Holy Year, explaining that the Lungotevere (the road which runs along either side of the Tiber river) needs to be kept free for international delegations and emergency vehicles.