February 18, 2011.
The Vatican has released the official schedule of events for the beatification of John Paul II. They wanted to note that entry is free and no tickets will be required. The announcement included a surprise that for a few hours the coffin of John Paul II will set next to the main altar in St. Peter's.
The official ceremonies will begin the night before the beatification with a massive vigil in one of the most attractive spots in Rome, the Circus Maximus. The Pope has said he wants to connect via satellite to speak with the attendees.
It's a large field where it's expected many pilgrims will camp out because it's already close to impossible to find a hotel for the night in Rome.
Benedict XVI will celebrate the beatification on Sunday at 10 am in St. Peter's Square. The area will most likely be cordoned off overnight and begin to allow access in the early hours of the morning to help avoid overcrowding.
That same day the Vatican will show the coffin of John Paul II, they will later privately transfer it to the Chapel of Saint Sebastian, located in the Basilica of Saint Peter's. A place that will make for easy access to pilgrims.
Rome is already preparing to welcome about a million and a half pilgrims. The eternal city has plenty of experience in playing host to large crowds. The authorities are already working to help the millions of pilgrims feel at home when they arrive.