Apr 072005
 
Authors: Lindsay Reiter

Pope John Paul II's funeral today occurs six days after his Saturday death saddened the Catholic community and the world.

Nearly 200 world leaders will be attending the funeral today in Rome, including four kings, five queens, at least 70 presidents and prime ministers, and more than 14 leaders of other religions, according to an article published on the MSNBC Web site on Thursday President George W. Bush will also be attending the ceremony.

Many major news networks are planning on broadcasting the funeral live.

Much confusion followed the death of Pope John Paul II regarding his burial wishes. The pope considered the idea of being buried in his home country of Poland, but ultimately he entrusted the decision of his final resting place to the College of Cardinals. The college chose to bury him beneath St. Peter's Basilica, the traditional burial place of popes.

The pope's death was felt throughout the Fort Collins community as well as on campus.

Upon hearing of his death, many Catholic students were deeply saddened.

"It was kind of shocking. This is a big thing to happen during my lifetime," said Michael Pagnotta, a freshman open-option major.

William Morrissey feels the loss of the pope is bittersweet.

"I was upset about his death. I thought he was a good pope because he was so open with all of the world leaders and he helped get rid of communism," said Morrissey, a freshman sports medicine major. "In some ways it's a good thing, though. Maybe the new pope will be more open to priests getting married and allowing birth control."

Jeanette Coleman, the assistant to the pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church, 300 W. Mountain Ave., has observed parishioners' reactions to the pontiff's death.

"The parish is saddened by the death and concerned about the successor. People have been praying for the pope because we have a tradition to pray for people who have died and their souls," Coleman said. "His leadership will be missed."

The initial shock of Pope John Paul II's death has been followed with immense speculation over who will succeed him.

"It will be interesting and exciting to see how the election unfolds and see who will be the successor," Coleman said

St. Joseph Catholic Church is holding a requiem mass in honor of Pope John Paul II at 7 p.m. on Monday.

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