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4-3-05- Soon, the public will get its chance to pay its last respects to Pope John Paul. His body will be taken to St. Peter's Basilica tomorrow for viewing. Today, at the Apostolic Palace, however, prelates and dignitaries went first-- including Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi.
The funeral is expected by Friday. John Paul died yesterday at the age of 84.
Police say about 80 thousand people attended a Mass for the pope
today in St. Peter's Square. And another 20-thousand spilled into
the surrounding boulevards.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican secretary of state, celebrated the Mass on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica. At the start of the Mass, applause rang out when the cardinal prayed for the repose of the pope's soul.
He said John Paul had died "serenely."
After the Mass ended, the archbishop who served as the pope's
public "voice" in his final weeks read the noontime prayer which
John Paul had traditionally delivered.