VATICAN CITY — Anticipating the first feast of Blessed John Paul II Oct. 22, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, presided over a ceremony this afternoon for “the translation” (the formal moving) of a reliquary containing one of the vials of late pope’s blood.
The ceremony took place in the chapel of the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu Hospital on the Janiculum Hill above the Vatican. The vial, which had been in the custody of the Daughters of Charity who work at the hospital, was placed alongside the altar in the chapel of the pediatric hospital.
The transfer of the reliquary will permit its “veneration by the small patients, their families and the healthcare workers at the hospital,” said a statement from Bambino Gesu.
A reliquary with a vial of Pope John Paul’s blood was given to Pope Benedict XVI May 1 during the Mass for the beatification of the late pope. At the time, the Vatican explained that four vials of blood were drawn from Pope John Paul during the final stage of his illness. The vials were sent to Bambino Gesu Hospital in case the ailing pope needed a transfusion.
No transfusion was ever needed, and after the pope’s death April 2, 2005, two of the vials went to his personal secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland, and the other two remained in the custody of the Daughters of Charity, the Vatican said.