2nd Lead (Adds details)

Prayers mourning death of Pope John Paul II held in NorthEast

[TamilNet, Monday, 04 April 2005, 10:53 GMT]
Thousands of people wept, prayed and said goodbye Sunday packing chapels and towns across NorthEast and the rest of Sri Lanka to remember the life of Pope John Paul II, the priest from Krakow who lead the resurgence of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland and the world.

Pope John Paul IIDay long prayers were held at the newly refurbished Roman Catholic Church at Kodikaman Road, Karaveddy and catholic churches in Jaffna, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Amparai districts, sources said. A special mass was held in Colombo's St. Lucia's Cathedral Sunday.

Sri Lanka Catholic Church has declared a week of morning, Associated Press quoted a senior church official as saying.

Roman Catholics represent nearly six percent of Sri Lanka's population. Sri Lanka's Buddhist leaders boycotted John Paul's visit to Sri Lanka in 1995 protesting against his book "Crossing the Threshold of Hope," which was critical of some Buddhist doctrines.

Pope advocated talks between the warring parties in Sri Lanka to resolve the ethnic struggle during his 1995 visit.

When John Paul was elected the 263rd successor to Saint Peter on 16 October 1978 at age 58, he was the youngest pope in 132 years, the first Polish pope and the first non-Italian pope in 450 years.

Pope suffered from Parkinson disease for years and his death was the culmination of a chain of medical setbacks that began in early February with influenza that forced him into a Rome hospital.

"Joaqquin Navarro-Valls, his spokesperson said that the pontiff received the Viaticum, a rite for the approach of death, during an 8 pm (local) bedside Mass and died surrounded by his closest Polish aides and household staff.

"His death brought and end to the Roman Catholic Church's third-longest papacy, a reign that was at once energetic, charismatic and polarizing," Washington Post's special issue on John Paul said.

 

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