Late Czech cardinal bids farewell to Rome

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These were Cardinal Josef Beran's final moments in his tomb among popes beneath St. Peter's Basilica. 

Josef Beran survived a Nazi concentration camp before later being subjected to religious persecution by the Communist regime in his native Czech Republic. Following 20 years of oppression, Pope Paul VI invited Beran to be named a cardinal in the Eternal City, where he remained in exile until his death in 1969. 

Paul VI called for Beran to be buried in the Grottos, a gesture meant to honor all victims of persecution. Despite being the only Czech person to hold such a distinction, the cardinal's final wish was to rest in his homeland. 

Czech officials, clergy and faithful gathered at the Pontifical College Nepomucenum, where Beran died, for the final Mass in Rome in celebration of the late cardinal. 

The Servant of God's casket will be transferred to Prague, where he will be warmly greeted before being granted a proper burial. Fifty years later, his wish is now being fulfilled.

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