I was watching a video of the moment of beatification of , Blessed John Paul II over at Ex Umbris et Imaginibus, and this is what caught my eye. It is a reliquary containing the blood of Blessed Pope John Paul II. It was presented for during the beatification ceremony by Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, who was cured by Pope John Paul's intercession.
Where did this blood come from? According to Zenit, a vial of the Holy Father's blood, which was drawn toward the end of his life "in the case of an eventual transfusion," was placed in a precious reliquary by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations. Four vials of blood were extracted and never used. Since John Paul II's death in 2005, two of the vials were held at Rome's Bambino Gesu Children's Hospital, which runs a transfusion center, and the other two were given to Pope John Paul II's personal secretary, then Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz.
The liturgical celebrations office placed the two vials held at the Bambino Gesu hospital into two reliquaries, one which will be presented during Sunday's beatification and housed afterward at the Vatican. The other will be returned to the hospital.
The Vatican noted that the blood "is in a liquid state, which is explained by an anti-coagulant substance present in the test tubes at the moment of extraction."
Blessed Pope John Paul II, pray for us.
I also include an exerpt from Pope Benedict's homily at the beatification of Pope John Paul II.
"Finally, on a more personal note, I would like to thank God for the gift of having worked for many years with Blessed Pope John Paul II. I had known him earlier and had esteemed him, but for twenty-three years, beginning in 1982 after he called me to Rome to be Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I was at his side and came to revere him all the more. My own service was sustained by his spiritual depth and by the richness of his insights. His example of prayer continually impressed and edified me: he remained deeply united to God even amid the many demands of his ministry. Then too, there was his witness in suffering: the Lord gradually stripped him of everything, yet he remained ever a “rock”, as Christ desired. His profound humility, grounded in close union with Christ, enabled him to continue to lead the Church and to give to the world a message which became all the more eloquent as his physical strength declined. In this way he lived out in an extraordinary way the vocation of every priest and bishop to become completely one with Jesus, whom he daily receives and offers in the Church.
Blessed are you, beloved Pope John Paul II, because you believed! Continue, we implore you, to sustain from heaven the faith of God’s people. You often blessed us in this Square from the Apostolic Palace: Bless us, Holy Father! Amen."
Invitation to all. Come to Drogheda, and celebrate the Beatification of Blessed Pope John Paul II. Monday, 2nd May, 7.30pm, St Mary's Church, Mass of Thanksgiving. More information.