Blood from John Paul II figures in ceremony Sunday

The Vatican has announced that blood taken from Pope John Paul II shortly before his death will be used as the official relic for veneration during his beatification on May 1.

In a statement Tuesday, the Vatican said the several vials of blood had been drawn for a possible transfusion shortly before the pope’s death on April 2, 2005. But the blood was never used.

After the beatification, a vial of Pope John Paul’s blood will be installed as a relic in a church in the pope’s native Poland. A spokesman for the John Paul Center said the vial will be encased in crystal and built into the altar of a church in the southern city of Krakow.

Beatification is the last major step before possible sainthood.

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