With the Holy Father's apartment window shutters closed, the mass for the repose of the soul of Pope John Paul II has begun in St. Peter's Square. Several tens of thousands are gathered in and around the piazza to join the world in prayer for the Pope. Presider Cardinal Angelo Sodano will lead the world in today's mass that will celebrate the life of Pope John Paul II.
As today, Sunday, officially marks the start of the period of nine days of mourning known as novemdiales, the Pope Blog is reflecting this with a ceremonial black border.
Being that this is now a time of sede vacante when the Church and the Vatican are without a Pope, the Web site of the Holy See has replaced the usual Vatican coat-of-arms (crossed keys with papal miter) with that which is used for the Vacancy of the Apostolic See (crossed keys with pavilion). The Vatican has also put up an interactive tribute to Pope John Paul II's Pontificate.