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Pope's Funeral at Vatican on Friday


The Vatican says Pope John Paul will be buried Friday in a crypt below St. Peter's Basilica, after hundreds of thousands of Roman Catholic faithful view his body this week.

Vatican officials expect about 100 heads of state and some two million pilgrims to attend Friday's funeral Mass for the 84-year-old pontiff.

President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush will lead the U.S. delegation to the ceremony.

Later today Vatican officials will carry the pope's body from the Apostolic palace through St. Peter's square and into the basilica. St. Peter's Basilica will remain open for 22 hours a day until Friday's funeral at 10 a.m. Rome time -- 0800 UTC for pilgrims to view his body and pay their respects.

Large screens are being set up throughout Vatican City and in parts of Rome so pilgrims will be able to watch the church's solemn farewell to John Paul.

At least 65 cardinals met Monday in a grand hall of the Apostolic Palace to set the details of the funeral.

However, a spokesman said the cardinals have not yet set a date for the conclave that will choose the next pope. They must begin meeting by April 22nd.

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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