VATICAN CITY: A vial containing the blood of the late Pope John Paul II has been prepared as a relic for veneration at his beatification ceremony this weekend, the Vatican said on Tuesday.
The blood was drawn “during the last days of the pope’s life” in case a transfusion might be necessary, the Vatican said in a statement, noting that an anti-coagulant in the container ensured that the blood remained liquid.
The vial will be placed in a “precious reliquary” specially prepared by the Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations for the occasion on Sunday when the popular Polish pope is beatified, the penultimate step to sainthood.
French nun Marie Simon-Pierre, who attributed her unexplained recovery from Parkinson’s disease to the late pope—the “miracle” that qualified him for beatification—will carry the reliquary during the observance, I.Media reported.
Polish nun Tobiana Sobodka, who was among John Paul II’s private attendants, will share the honor, the religious news agency said.
The existence of four vials containing the blood of John Paul II, who died in 2005 after a nearly 27-year papacy, has been known for some time.
Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz, who was the late pontiff’s personal secretary and is today the archbishop of the Polish city of Krakow, has two of the vials, while the other two have been kept at Rome’s Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital, which runs a blood transfusion center.
Each of the hospital’s vials has been placed in a reliquary; the one to be presented during the beatification will be housed afterward at the Vatican’s Office of Liturgical Celebrations, while the hospital will house the second reliquary.
John Paul II died at the age of 84 on April 2, 2005, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease and other ailments.