April 28, 2011. (Romereports.com)
Up until April 29th, one could visit the tomb of John Paul II in the Vatican's crypt. Over the last six years, roughly 20,000 pilgrims visited his tomb every day. In his will, John Paul II specifically wrote that he wanted to be buried on that site. His wish, was to be laid to rest on soil with a simple white marble slab. With his beatification, his remains will be transferred from the crypt to the basilica, as is tradition with popes, saints and the blessed.
On Friday morning Vatican employees will lift the slab and remove the casket. The body, though, will not be exhumed. John Paul II's coffin will be set before the grave of Saint Peter up until the day of his beatification. It will be covered by a white cloth, the Church's most solemn color.
Next week, John Paul II's remains will be taken to the Saint Sebastiano chapel, next to The Pietá of Michaelangelo. Just a few days ago, the remains of another beatified pope, Inocencio XI, were at that same site. But recently, they were transferred to another area of the Basilica.
There, the remains of John Paul II, will be under this altar, covered with a gravestone with just four words: "Beatus Ioannes Paulus II. "