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Vatican: JPII relic for beatification vial of blood

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VATICAN CITY -- A small vial of Pope John Paul II's blood is the relic for the Mass for his beatification, the Vatican said.

The relic was to be presented to Pope Benedict XVI and exposed for veneration during the Mass in St. Peter's Square May 1, the Vatican said April 26.

After the Mass, it will be kept with other modern relics in the Apostolic Palace, it said.

The Vatican explained that four vials of blood were drawn from Pope John Paul during the final stage of his illness by his personal physician. The vials were sent to the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome in case the ailing pope needed a transfusion, it said.

No transfusion was ever needed, and after the death of Pope John Paul on April 2, 2005, two of the vials went to the pope's personal secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland, and the other two remained in the custody of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul at the hospital, the Vatican said.

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One of the vials of blood from the hospital will be presented for veneration at the beatification Mass and be placed in a "precious reliquary specially made" for the occasion, it said.

The second vial will remain at the hospital.

The Vatican said the blood in all four vials has not solidified because an anti-coagulant had been added at the time the blood was drawn.

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