Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images
Pope John Paul II on Sept. 19, 1999, in Maribor, Slovenia, during a mass celebrating the beatification of Anton Martin Slomsek.
Pope John Paul II on Sept. 19, 1999, in Maribor, Slovenia, during a mass celebrating the beatification of Anton Martin Slomsek. Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images
As we've reported, Pope John Paul II is well on his way to becoming a saint. Now, the AP reports that a Polish church has asked for and received a vial of the Pope's blood:
Piotr Sionko, the spokesman for the John Paul II Center, said the vial will be encased in crystal and built into the altar of a church in the southern city of Krakow that is opening in May...
Sionko said the idea came from Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the archbishop of Krakow and the longtime friend and secretary of the late Polish-born pontiff. The blood was drawn for medical tests at Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic shortly before John Paul's death on April 2, 2005, and is now in Dziwisz's possession, he said.
This is in line with the Catholic tradition of conserving relics from saints who have passed. Some in Poland, the AP adds, had suggested that John Paul's heart be buried in his homeland, but church officials said, "the age had passed for that practice."