VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis spent a “long time” kneeling in silent prayer before the tomb of Blessed John Paul II on April 2, the eighth anniversary of his death.
The visit “this evening in the Vatican basilica expresses the deep, spiritual continuity of the Petrine ministry shared by the popes. It is precisely this Petrine ministry that Pope Francis so deeply feels and shares, and which he has also shown in his meeting with and repeated telephone calls to his predecessor Benedict XVI,” said an April 2 statement from the Vatican Press Office.
Over the last two days, the Pope seems to have been steeping himself in the spiritual riches and strength of his predecessors who are buried in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Late on Monday afternoon, he visited the tomb of St. Peter, as well as the final resting places of Popes Benedict XV, Pius XI, Pius XII, Paul VI and John Paul I.
Then, at around 7pm on April 2, Pope Francis went to the tomb of Blessed John Paul II, just after St. Peter’s closed for the evening.
Cardinal Angelo Comastri and the Pope’s personal secretary, Msgr. Alfred Xuereb, accompanied him to the altar of St. Sebastian, where the late Pope is entombed.
He also stopped and prayed at the tombs of Blessed John XXIII and St. Pius X.