Vatican Warns of Papal Ticket Scams

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Catholic pilgrims will have an opportunity to pray before the coffin of Pope John Paul II during his beatification ceremony May 1 – but the Vatican is warning people who plan to travel to Rome to beware of scammers who try to sell tickets to the ceremony.

"It is very important to make as clear as possible that no tickets are needed to attend the beatification of John Paul II," Monsignor Guido Marini, master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, told Vatican Radio, CNN reports.

Two million Catholics are expected to flood Vatican City for the special Mass that will be presided over by Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter's Square on the first Sunday after Easter. The Vatican released a statement saying: "For the beatification Mass of Pope John Paul II, as made clear from the outset, no tickets are required."

Officials have become concerned about scams after hearing about papal tours that are being offered on the Internet to bring the faithful closer to the Pope's coffin, which will be exhumed for the service. None of the papal events slated to take place cost money, the Vatican has emphasized.

Immediately after May 1 Mass, the faithful can pray before Pope John Paul's mortal remains, which will be set in front of the main altar in St. Peter's Basilica. The veneration "will continue until the flow of faithful ends," Catholic National News reports.

Pope John Paul II was wildly popular in the United States and his ascent to possible sainthood has become a worldwide fascination. His beatification is coming six years after his death, which is unusually speedy for the first step in the process of becoming a saint.

He spoke more than a dozen languages and traveled to more than 100 countries, including seven times to the U.S., an extraordinary pastoral record, according the book "John Paul II: A Light for the World."

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