Pilgrims of the world honor JPII

VATICAN CITY — Thousands of people flocked to St. Peter’s Square Tuesday to attend a memorial Mass for Pope John Paul II, who died on that date three years ago. 

The blue balloons on this Google map show you just some of the places they all traveled from.

I talked to several people in the square about why they came and what they thought of the late pope. You can read more of what they told me by clicking on some of the balloons below. Or, click here to bring the world map up on a separate page to view what these pilgrims of the world said.

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Washington Metro subway system offers ‘Mass Pass’

Metro's one-day Mass PassA lot of special events in Washington these days are drawing big numbers and keeping Metro subway operators on their toes, what with a shiny new ballpark now open and the spring’s annual cherry blossom festivities in full bloom. Add to that Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming visit to the nation’s capital April 15-17.

So Metro wants people to know it can move a crowd. Passengers dashing for a train or waiting on the platform for the next one likely will hear a periodic announcement with an invitation to take the subway to special events happening in Washington, including the pope’s April 17 Mass at Nationals Park. “We’re ready. Are you?” intones the voice on the public address system.

To make Massgoers lives easier, Metro is issuing a commemorative “Mass Pass,” good for unlimited travel April 17.  “It will be a great keepsake of this special day,” a Washington archdiocesan spokesperson told the Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Washington Archdiocese. It costs $9 and features the event logo. Metro has created a special Web site on the papal trip and has even produced a commemorative brochure. Metro plans to add extra trains and extra staff too.

Most-viewed CNS stories for March

Did you miss any of these? Here’s a list of most-viewed stories for March on our public site, www.catholicnews.com:

1. St. Patrick’s Day falling during Holy Week prompts parade dilemma.

2. Maryland couple hopes son’s medical case will help Toussaint’s cause.

3. Vatican spokesman calls rumors of rehabilitation of Luther groundless.

4. Vatican statement on baptisms not meant to cause panic, priest says.

5. Cardinal: Liberalized use of Tridentine Mass already is bearing fruit.

6. Security requirement to keep Sikhs from interreligious papal event.

7. Nuncio says pope comes to strengthen faith, hope, love of U.S. church.

8. Closing the doors of limbo: Theologians say it was hypothesis (Dec. 2, 2005).

9. Social effects of sin greater than ever, says Vatican official.

10. Upcoming book links parishioners’ politics with their priests’ views.