VATICAN CITY, APRIL 29, 2011 (Zenit.org).- A reliquary containing the blood of Pope John Paul II will be presented for veneration this Sunday during the Pontiff's beatification liturgy, the Vatican reported Tuesday.
A communiqué from the Vatican press office explained that a vial of the Holy Father's blood, which was drawn toward the end of his life "in the case of an eventual transfusion," was placed in a precious reliquary by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff for the beatification Mass.
Four vials of blood were extracted and never used. Since John Paul II's death in 2005 from complications associated with Parkinson's disease, two of the vials were held at Rome's Bambino Gesu Children's Hospital, which runs a transfusion center, and the other two were given to Pope John Paul II's personal secretary, then Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz.
The liturgical celebrations office placed the two vials held at the Bambino Gesu hospital into two reliquaries, one which will be presented during Sunday's beatification and housed afterward at the Vatican. The other will be returned to the hospital.
The Vatican noted that the blood "is in a liquid state, which is explained by an anti-coagulant substance present in the test tubes at the moment of extraction."
Sister Marie Simon Pierre, who was miraculously cured from Parkinson's, and whose miracle was used in the cause of beatification, will carry the reliquary during Sunday's liturgy, the French news agency I.Media is reporting.
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On ZENIT's Web page:
Full text of communiqué: www.zenit.org/article-32421?l=english