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Last Updated: Friday, 8 April, 2005, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
Reporters' log: Pope's funeral
Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II is laid to rest

Millions of pilgrims gathered in Rome for the funeral of Pope John Paul II. Heads of state, kings and queens joined with the Catholic hierarchy to celebrate the life of the Polish Pope.

He was buried in the crypt below St Peter's Basilica, under a simple stone slab.

Peter Gould : St Peter's Square, Rome : 1500GMT

The funeral finished three hours ago but there are still several thousand people in St Peter's Square. Many came here from Poland.

Some are now taking photographs of each other, holding their red and white flags. In years to come they will proudly show off the pictures and recall the day they attended the funeral of the Polish pope.

Others are lying on the ground, fast asleep. They are worn out from their travels, and from hours spent standing in line in Rome, trying to get into the square. Soon they will have to rouse themselves for the long journey home.

They will have plenty of stories to tell their families and friends.

Peter Gould : St Peter's Square, Rome : 1431GMT

The funeral finished three hours ago but there are still several thousand people in St Peter's Square. Many came here from Poland.

Some are now taking photographs of each other, holding their red and white flags. In years to come they will proudly show off the pictures and recall the day they attended the funeral of the Polish pope.

Others are lying on the ground, fast asleep. They are worn out from their travels, and from hours spent standing in line in Rome, trying to get into the square.

Soon they will have to rouse themselves for the long journey home. They will have plenty of stories to tell their families and friends.

Jill McGivering : St Peter's Square, Rome : 1403GMT

An air of exhaustion has settled over St Peter's Square. The crowds of hundreds of thousands who gathered for the funeral are slowly dispersing.

Many have simply unrolled sleeping bags and mats and are lying on the cobblestones.

For the city too, it is a time for recovery from the past week of intense emotions and vast crowds.

Steve Kingstone : Aparecida, Brazil : 1244GMT

Brazilians have arrived in their thousands at the giant Basilica of Nosa Signora Aparecida, the main point of pilgrimage here.

Many awoke early to watch the funeral at the Vatican on television. Now, and throughout the day, special services are commemorating the life of the Pope who was often described here as "John of God".

Twenty five years after he first visited, the world's largest Catholic country is still scarred by problems, notably violent crime and inequality. But the tone here has been one of hope and optimism.

During mass John Paul II was described as a man who cared deeply about Brazil and worked tirelessly to ease its poverty.

Since his death more than 100,000 people have come to Aparecida to mourn. Many more will follow, both on Friday and into the weekend.

Jonathan Marcus : London, UK : 1232GMT

If the influence of Pope John Paul the Second was remarkable during his life, his death has served to bring together an extraordinary array of world political and religious leaders - united, whatever their faiths, in paying tribute to a man who unstintingly sought to reach out to other religions.

The presence of the Iranian President Mohammad Khatami - in the same congregation as his US counterpart George W. Bush - suggests something of the way the Pope's work was appreciated around the world.

This was, of course, a day for spirituality and reflection, but politics can never be far away. Indeed the Iranian President's presence provided the opportunity for an unlikely encounter.

According to Israel Radio the Israeli President Moshe Katzav spoke with his Iranian opposite number in Farsi - an unprecedented albeit brief meeting. Mr Katzav also shook hands with the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

There was one notable absence. The Chinese Government refused to send a representative, angered by the decision of the Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian to attend.

The remarkable turn-out in Rome though was a tribute to one man. It was a moment of which Pope John Paul the Second himself would doubtless have been proud.

Allan Little : Krakow, Poland : 1215GMT

It is a day of quiet, striking intensity here. Walking amongst the crowd you could feel how highly charged the sentiment was amongst the Poles. It started just after dawn and soon it felt as if the whole city had come. They stood transfixed for three hours, still, in contemplation of what the Polish pope had meant. He was a great unifier, he gave Poles their country back.

Duncan Kennedy : St Peter's Sq, Rome : 12130GMT

It has been incredible here amongst the crowds here. There were tears and emotions as many thousands said goodbye to John Paul II. It was a time of powerful reflection, a time of poignant sobriety.

John Paul II was not just a holy man to these people, he was a sacred man, a familiar face, a man they called Il Papa.

Jeremy Bowen : St Peter's Sq, Rome : 1210GMT

The Catholic Church has never had a day like this or a pope like John Paul II. At least 1 million pilgrims are on the streets of Rome.

No private cars are moving, schools and shops are closed. At least 70 prime ministers and presidents have come to pay their respects. Bush and his two predecessors turned out for this funeral.

Pilgrims from all over the world waited all night for this. Hundreds of thousands from Poland and from the pope's home town of Wadowice.

John Paul was prepared to make enemies for what he thought was the truth. He took on communism and opposed the war in Iraq. He fought for openness and liberty in Eastern Europe, but did not permit it in his own Church.

It seemed fitting that so many from all over the world wanted to be here. He was on the road travelling to many countries for about a tenth of his pontificate.

This pope made an unprecedented connection with people all around the world, because of his natural gifts, as a communicator, a leader, and a churchman.

Today could have been chaos - but it was the absolute reverse of that. The Rome authorities have been very well organised. There was water, medical care and food - and things were always good humoured.

People have departed happy and satisfied and pleased they were here.

Ray Furlong : Krakow, Poland : 1150GMT

There are around 800,000 people here at the Blonie Park in Krakow where John Paul II once held huge open air Masses. They watched his funeral on giant screens, joining the prayers, kneeling and standing at the appointed moments.

There were families sitting on blankets, youth groups with banners proclaiming loyalty to the Pope, and older people who remembered him as a young parish priest here in this city.

Krakow remembers him as one of its own. He was born in the nearby village and spent most of his adult life here before his election to the Holy See. But people have come here from across Poland and ceremonies are also being held elsewhere in the country.

In Krakow the mood is solemn and many have shed tears as they bid farewell to a man widely regarded here as probably the greatest Pole of the 20th century.

The ceremonies are continuing with a separate requiem Mass that will go on well into the night.

Stephanie Holmes : St Peter's Square, Rome : 1131GMT

Pilgrims, carrying their sleeping bags on their backs, have begun to leave the Square. Others eat sandwiches and packed lunches in the hazy sunshine.

Those who came are tired but content and at some point they'll make their way on to trains and buses which will take them home.

Jon Sopel : Vatican City : 1105GMT

This was a very reverent service. The crowd's mood changed from a party atmosphere earlier to great solemnity once the service got under way.

Now they are chanting the Pope's name again, and sometimes the words 'santo subito,' in other words they are saying 'make him a saint immediately.'

You can see the Polish flags all around flying high in the spring breeze.

Stephanie Holmes : St Peter's Square, Rome : 1057GMT

As the mass neared its end, the Cardinal led the crowd in appealing to the saints for the soul of Pope John Paul II.

The pilgrims sung their four-note response "Pr-ay for him" in their native languages, their voices merging together.

Then, together, the crowd began to clap in a sustained and enthusiastic farewell to their Pope.

Ray Furlong : Krakow, Poland : 1110GMT

There are around 800,000 people here at Blonia park in Krakow where John Paul II once held huge open air masses. They watched his funeral on giant screens, joining the prayers, kneeling and standing at the appointed moments.

There were families sitting on blankets with flasks of tea, youth groups with banners proclaiming loyalty to the Pope, and older people who remembered him as a young parish priest here in this city.

Krakow remembers him as one of its own. He was born in the nearby village and spent most of his adult life here before his election to the Holy See. But people have come here from across Poland and ceremonies are also being held elsewhere in the country.

Around the world the Polish Merchant Fleet sounded ships' horns as the funeral began. Here in Krakow the mood is solemn and many have shed tears as they bid farewell to a man widely regarded here as probably the greatest Pole of the 20th century.

The ceremonies are continuing with a separate requiem mass that will go on well into the night.

Subir Bhaumik : Calcutta, India : 1055GMT

The Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta held special prayers at their chapel to pray for the departed soul of Pope John Paul II. More than 250 nuns, novices and brothers joined the special prayers that was held for an hour from six to seven in the morning.

Later they watched the live funeral ceremony on a giant screen installed in their chapel. All Christian schools and colleges remained closed in Calcutta on the occasion of the Pope's funeral.

Allan Little : Krakow, Poland : 1045GMT

This common where I am standing is where John Paul II came in 1979 and drew a crowd of between two and three million people. Many here today were here then, and they attribute the fact that they can now gather here in freedom to him.

They are laying to rest not only a spiritual leader, but a man they think of as a national redeemer. It's a very biblical story in their minds, one of a man who guided them through tyranny.

I spoke to one man who said he can't imagine a pope who can't speak Polish. That's the stage John Paul II stands on in this country. People here also say he could be much more influential in death than in life.

The extraordinary changes which have been achieved here were achieved in the light of the moral authority he commanded. And people believe that authority can go on after his death.

David Loyn : Jos, Nigeria : 1026GMT

African rhythms at a mass in the cathedral church of Jos, in the central Nigerian plateau visited by the Pope in 1982.

The service was time to coincide with John Paul's funeral. Perhaps nowhere in the Catholic world did he have more support for the stands that he took than in this fast-growing church.

In his sermon the archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama, praised the Pope for speaking against abortion, contraception and homosexuality.

But what he won applause for was for saying that the Pope made the greedy uncomfortable. Poverty and inequality are much more pressing preoccupations here than abortion and contraception.

The archbishop finished his sermon with some good-humoured comments about the possibility of an African Pope.

The Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze is on the shortlist of those who could become the next Pope, and he would bring all that was on display here this morning: exuberant worship, strong views on private morality, but putting the world's poor at centre stage.

Steve Gibbs : Havana, Cuba : 0950GMT

In an extraordinary development last Monday Fidel Castro set foot inside Havana Cathedral to attend a funeral Mass here for the Pope.

It was the first time he had been in a cathedral since his sister's wedding in 1959. The Pope's visit here in 1998 was a great success for both sides. Massive crowds were here to greet him and a huge Mass was held in Revolution Square. Since then there has been an increase in religious freedoms.

Over the last few days Fidel Castro has made repeated references to that trip. Of course there is a political element to that - Castro also referred to comments the Pope made while he was here, including criticism of the US embargo.

There's no question that both Catholics here and non-believers were moved by the Pope's decision to visit - he was the first Pope who had ever been to Cuba.

Peter Gould : St Peter's Sq, Rome : 0932GMT

Presiding over the service is Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, one of the Pope's closest aides.

In his homily, he pays tribute to his friend, recounting the journey of Karol Wojtyla from Poland to the Vatican: "Today we bury his remains in the earth as a seed of immortality. Our hearts are full of sadness, yet at the same time of joyful hope and profound gratitude."

His words are followed by prolonged applause and the waving of many Polish flags. A chant goes up in the square, "Santo, Santo".

The crowd is pressing its demand for John Paul II to be made a Saint.

Ania Lichtarowicz : London, UK : 0917GMT

Thousands of people are marching in central London in memory of Pope John Paul II. The event organised by mobile phone messaging, email and internet has brought together many Poles now living in the UK.

People from across the country gathered at Trafalgar Square, lighting candles to remember the Pope. Official estimates aren't yet known but it's thought that about 17,000 people have taken part in this impromptu memorial gathering.

Walking towards Westminster Cathedral, the pope's favourite Polish hymn was sung almost continuously and Polish flags with black sashes were held high.

The mood is thoughtful and reflective at this spontaneous tribute to a clearly very much loved pontiff.

Sarah Toms : Manila, Philippines : 0908GMT

Workers, officials, business leaders and students carrying banners, balloons and photographs of the Pope slowly made their way in a candle-lit procession towards Manila's Luneta Park.

Philippine police say 20,000 people have come to pay their last respects, but crowds are still gathering.

Four giant screens have been set up so worshippers can watch the burial live from the Vatican. This park has a special significance in the Philippines, as the Pope celebrated Mass here with five million Filipinos during his second visit in 1995.

A huge photograph of the Pope serves as a backdrop for the stage and the altar, where the archbishop of Manila, Gaudencio Rosales, will give a special open-air Mass after the Pope's funeral.

Police have been placed on full alert to guard against any possible security threats from Muslim rebels. People from other faiths have also been invited to the gathering, highlighting the Pope's efforts to build bridges between all religions.

But millions more Filipinos are at home, saying their final prayers and watching the Pope's funeral live on television.

Peter Gould : St Peter's Sq, Rome : 0900GMT

The funeral mass began and the Pope's coffin emerged from the basilica, carried by a dozen pall bearers. It was followed by the Cardinals, their scarlet red robes swirling around them in the blustery wind. The square is virtually full, the number of people allowed in limited only for reasons of safety.

Man with Polish flag
Many Polish people have made the journey to Rome

The red and white Polish flag flies everywhere. The Pope's countrymen and women were here before dawn to try to get a good view. Some were unlucky.

They are in the long column of people that stretches away down the Via Della Conciliazione towards the River Tiber.

They are following the service on huge TV screens. Above us, helicopters continue to circle. Security will not be relaxed until the funeral is over, and all the heads of state have departed.

Anna Borzello : Lagos, Nigeria : 0857GMT

There are about 15 million Catholics in Nigeria - but they only make up a small percentage of the population, and this is a working day like any other.

At the Catholic Church of the Assumption in the upmarket area of Ikoyi, worshippers gathered for early morning Mass - and said special prayers for the repose of Pope John Paul II. But then they had to go to work.

The Church in Nigeria has not planned any national or communal activity to mark the funeral, and so most Catholics are watching the service on television at their office, or waiting until they get home this evening.

But while the response to the funeral of Pope John Paul is not taking place at a public level, individuals talk with passion about how much he meant to them.

In particular, they remember his two visits to Nigeria, and say they feel he reached out to Africa and understood their concerns.

Ray Furlong : Krakow : 0852GMT

Hundreds of thousands of people have gathered in crisp spring sunshine here at the Buena Park in Krakow. They're standing in silence watching the funeral live on giant screens.

Polish translations of the ceremony are resounding across the park, which is a sea of Polish and Vatican flags. Some people are holding banners: one, addressed to John Paul II, reads "We want our lives to make you proud".

Nuns in St Peter's Square
Prayers are said in St Peter's Square and around the world

Pilgrims have come here from across Poland - some spent the night camped out in tents or sleeping in their cars. There are people of all ages, but the large number of young people is notable.

The mood is solemn, but earlier there were speeches emphasising that the Pope's lesson was the Christian message of eternal life.

Huw Edwards : St Peter's Sq, Rome : 0845GMT

Cardinal Ratzinger is paying a warm tribute to the immense crowd silently praying which has gathered here over the past few days. "I greet you all from my heart," he says.

And he expresses his respects on behalf of the college of cardinals to the various heads of state. He greets the representatives of other churches and religions, and he greets especially the young, whom John Paul II liked to call the future and hope of the Church.

Sarah Aldous : St Peter's Sq, Rome : 0832GMT

The crowd are all on their feet and facing the Basilica. The Pope's coffin is placed on a dais. The crowd is calm and many hold their hands clasped together.

There are dozens of red and white flags held aloft. People who aren't able to get into the square are watching on monitors on all the roads leading in to the square. All eyes are now on the coffin.

Huw Edwards : St Peter's Sq, Rome : 0812GMT

You can hear the noise of helicopters as the cardinals continue to enter onto the altar.

The presence of the helicopters is an inevitable consequence of providing security here today and will intrude from time to time.

Jill McGivering : St Peter's Sq, Rome : 0805GMT

The Pope's body, sealed in a plain wooden coffin, is being presented to the crowds of hundreds of thousands of people flooding St Peter's Square and the streets surrounding it.

At the front, before the grand sweep of the steps of the Basilica, about two hundred heads of state and religious leaders have taken their seats ready for the extended requiem mass to begin. This is the central and public part of the funeral ceremony.

Earlier the rites began in private, behind the closed doors of the St Peter's Basilica, away from the world's television cameras. Cardinals, senior clergy and Vatican officials sang psalms and recited prayers over the Pope's body as it was placed into the coffin.

The Pope's face was covered with a piece of white silk. Medallions, one from each year of the Pope's time in office, and a document giving a brief account of the Pope's life, were placed in the coffin beside the body before it was sealed.

Brian Hanrahan : St Peter's Square, Rome : 0758GMT

People are still working their way into the square. I can see them file in, they have their bed rolls on their backs, their rucksacks, they have arrived gently when the police opened the area a couple of hours ago. It has been organised carefully.

I can see lots of flags too, flags from Poland, Canada, Brazil, Nigerian, Lebanon, lots of flags, but it is the Poles who are taking pride of place.

You ask them why they are here and they tell you "he's ours".

This has been the Pope's back yard, this is where he came, where he met people, people have a sense of knowing him from the pictures of him here, of knowing his gestures, of recognising his voice.

When they come here today it is these memories they will bring with them. It is not very reverend here today, not everyone attending is catholic, but they come to talk, to remember.

Peter Gould : St Peter's Square, Rome : 0647GMT

The main road leading into St Peter's Square is now jammed with people. At the moment they are sitting on the ground, waiting for the police to let them through to the square. Then there will be a rush to secure the best vantage points.

Judging by the red and white flags, a large part of this crowd is Polish. They are tired from their long journey, and cold after a night sleeping in the open. But the mood is happy, and they are now waiting expectantly for the service to begin.

People have travelled from all over the world to be here. Father Terry Ponomban, a priest from Jakarta, Indonesia, tells us it was worth the effort to be present at such a momentous occasion. "It is sad, but it is also amazing," he says. "It is the moment of a lifetime."

Ray Furlong : Krakow, Poland : 0629GMT

Thousands of people have already gathered here and the crowd will probably exceed one million today.

Pilgrims are not just local people, some have come from across Poland. The speeches have been solemn.

The funeral will be carried on large screens here. There will then be a requiem mass with music from Mozart and some of the Pope's own verses.

Jill McGivering : St Peter's Sq, Rome : 0602GMT

Crowds of tens of thousands are now filling the streets and surging into St Peter's Square, pressing forward through a tightly controlled maze of security barriers.

Many have travelled across Europe by bus, car and train to be present at the pope's funeral service, despite warnings from officials to stay away because the city centre is already overwhelmed.

Thousands of police officers have been deployed, supported by the army. City authorities are trying to strike a balance between public eagerness for access and the need to protect about two hundred dignitaries from around the world - presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and religious leaders.

Steve Kingstone : Sao Paulo, Brazil : 0558GMT

Most Brazilians will be asleep when the funeral takes place. It begins at 5am local time. One important exception will be the town of Aparecida, the country's main point of pilgrimage. There, people will gather in the early hours before staging their own mass soon after the funeral ends.

Since the pope's death, the reaction here has been more muted than one might expect from the world's largest Catholic population. There have been official tributes and quiet prayers, but no collective outpouring of grief.

That's perhaps because most Brazilians are Catholics more in name than in practice. Just one in five attends mass every week and nearly ninety percent say it's possible to use contraception and still be a good Roman Catholic.

Ray Furlong : Krakow, Poland : 0553GMT

The sun rose on a field littered with flickering candles left over from the night before. A million people came here yesterday for an open air mass and some of them stayed overnight in tents or in their cars, parked in a line behind the meadow.

More people have been arriving since dawn broke to the sound of religious music over loudspeakers. Around a million Poles have made the gruelling overland journey to Rome but for many others this is the next best place to be.

The focus for much of the morning will be the giant screens erected here in the park which will carry live transmissions of the funeral. Afterwards a separate requiem mass will be held in honour of the man who spent almost his entire adult life here as priest, teacher and archbishop before becoming the Polish pope.

Peter Gould : St Peter's Square, Rome : 0535GMT

As the sun comes up, we can see St Peter's Square being prepared for the funeral. There are rows of empty chairs, waiting for the invited guests, including 200 dignitaries.

Some people are starting to take their places, but the square is still fairly empty. The crowds are still being held back behind police cordons.

St Peter's Square
Final preparations are being made

From our rooftop vantage point, we can see that the only vehicles moving in surrounding streets belong to the police, the military and the emergency services. At the moment it still eerily quiet and calm.

The sound of birdsong is broken only by the buzzing of helicopters flying over the dome of the basilica and the distant chants of pilgrims from the street below.

Peter Gould : St Peter's Square, Rome : 0500GMT

A security cordon is now in place around the Vatican. Thousands of pilgrims, many waving Polish flags are lining up in the darkness, waiting to be allowed into St Peter's Square for the funeral. For now, the crowd is being held back by lines of police, and some people are chanting, impatient to be allowed through the security barrier.

Sleeping couple
Couple sleep out over night at the Vatican

Others pilgrims are still asleep under blankets, having spent the night in the open air.

Even for journalists with passes, and members of the clergy with Vatican invitations, it is difficult to get through the crowds and the barriers.

A journey of a few hundred yards takes half an hour. Anyone who turns up late for this funeral is unlikely to get in.





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