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Statement Announcing Death Of Pope John Paul II

Statement released by Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls, publicly announcing the death of John Paul II.

The Holy Father died at 9:37 (2:37 EST) this evening in his private apartment.

At 8 p.m. the celebration of Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday began in the Holy Father's room, presided by Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, with the participation of Cardinal Marian Jaworski, of Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko and of Monsignor Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki.

During the course of the Mass, the Viaticum was administered to the Holy Father and, once again, the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.

The Holy Father's final hours were marked by the uninterrupted prayer of all those who were assisting him in his pious death, and by the choral participation in prayer of the thousands of
faithful who, for many hours, had been gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Present at the moment of the death of John Paul II were: his two personal secretaries, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz and Monsignor Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki, Cardinal Marian Jaworski, Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, Father Tadeusz Styczen, the three nuns, Handmaidens of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who assist in the Holy Father's apartment, guided by the Superior Sister Tobiana Sobódka, and the Pope's personal physician Dr. Renato Buzzonetti, with the two doctors on call, Dr. Alessandro Barelli and Dr. Ciro D'Allo, and the two nurses on call.

Immediately afterwards the secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano arrived, as did the chamberlain of Holy Roman Church, Cardinal Eduardo Martínez Somalo, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Secretariat of State, and Archbishop Paolo Sardi, vice-chamberlain of Holy Roman Church.

Thereafter, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, and Cardinal Jozef Tomko also arrived.

Tomorrow, Divine Mercy Sunday, at 10.30 a.m., a Mass for the repose of the soul of the Holy Father will be celebrated in St. Peter's Square, presided over by Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

At 12 noon, the Marian prayer of Easter time, the Regina Coeli, will be recited.

The body of the late pontiff is expected to be brought to the Vatican Basilica no earlier than Monday afternoon.

The first General Congregation of Cardinals will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 4 in the Bologna Hall of the Apostolic Palace.

[Original text: Italian]

[Translation issued by the Holy See]

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