Estrella Quinto touched a photo honoring the late Pope John Paul II yesterday at Our Lady of Peace Cathedral in downtown Honolulu.

Visitors to cathedral
fill book with
expressions of love

An unsigned message to Pope John Paul II read, "Thank you for being our servant."

It is one of hundreds of expressions of love and faith from Hawaii residents and visitors to be logged in the memorial book at Our Lady of Peace Cathedral this week.

"I'm writing for myself, not that it will ever be read," said Estrella Quinto, of Kalihi, who stopped in at the Fort Street Mall church yesterday afternoon on her way home from a volunteer job.

"He's the only pope I know," said Edmund Tancinco. "I don't think he will be replaced by anyone better than he was."

Tancinco and a co-worker walked from their nearby office to spend their 15-minute work break in the cathedral.

"You were a man who knew no boundaries; may the new pope be like you," wrote Jack Sullivan in the book that carries messages in several languages.

The Rev. John Berger, cathedral rector, offered the opportunity for parishioners to express themselves about the death of the pope after weekend Masses at the downtown church. The book will remain out from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Sunday, then will be sent to the Vatican.

It is not part of Catholic Church ritual, but a familiar extension of island culture, said cathedral staffer Alika Cullen, who has fielded dozens of telephone calls from Catholics and non-Catholics alike seeking to offer condolences.

"Death is part of life in our culture," he said, and it is typical for co-workers, neighbors and extended circles of friends and acquaintances to drop by a mortuary to sign the visitor ledger.

People line up to sign the book after the daily Masses at 6:30 a.m. and noon. A trickle of visitors continues through the historic church all day.

A steady stream of people is also visiting the Catholic bookstore a block away seeking books and photographs of the pope.

"We're pretty much wiped out," said Myrna Grant, an employee at Pauline Books and Media, which has reordered popular posters and books about the pope and authored by John Paul. "He's always been a best seller," she said. The display has dwindled to a few books, ranging from a thick tome on the history of the papacy to a John Paul II comic book for children.

Among those who paid their respects by signing the book yesterday were Bishop Jack Isbell and the Rev. Nicholas Eyre, both of the Ecumenical Catholic Church, a separate denomination not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

The tone of most notes was not grief, but thanksgiving and celebration.

"Thank you for answering God's call," wrote Suzanne Ching. "You made such a difference in our world."


Pallbearers flanked by Swiss Guards carried Pope John Paul II's body across St. Peter's Square at the Vatican yesterday on its way for public viewing inside St. Peter's Basilica. With tens of thousands of mourners outside hoping for a glimpse of the procession, the late pontiff's body rode on a crimson platform from the Sala Clementina, where it had lain in state since Sunday.

‘It is our duty
to be here’

Many thousands file through St. Peter's
Square to see the pontiff's body

VATICAN CITY » The mourners stood in line hour after hour, starting when the sun's heat blazed off the Vatican's old stones, and into the late-night chill. Pilgrims older than the late pope struggled to remain standing. Young children, even infants, were unusually well behaved.

All the time, as the line inched forward, it grew longer and longer, out of St. Peter's Square, stretching out of sight down the Via Della Conciliazione. Police said close to midnight it was 2 miles long -- and many people wide.

For pilgrims mourning Pope John Paul II, it was a deeply moving scene: the pope lying lifeless on a crimson platform, wearing a pair of simple brown shoes.

Many wept as they walked past the bier. Some collapsed against the wall outside after leaving St. Peter's Basilica, where the pope's remains went on public view yesterday afternoon.

He will be buried Friday.

St. Peter's Square seemed even more crowded yesterday than during the somber two-day vigil before the pope's death.

Thousands of people crammed St. Peter's Square late last night to enter St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican and pay their respects to Pope John Paul II.

Security was tight. Police set up steel barricades down the middle of the Via della Conciliazione -- built by Mussolini when Italy established relations with the Vatican in 1929 -- to control the crowds.

The first in line arrived about 11:30 a.m. yesterday, when the pope's body still lay in a room in the palace after a private viewing the day before. They pushed up against the guardrails, over which they draped a big cloth with a single word -- "grazie," or thanks -- written in blue paint.

"I'm here because I want to say goodbye to the pope and want to thank him for all that he did," said Ennio Basile, 17, who traveled from Naples and stood at the front of the line. "Not any pope could do what he did. He brought peace to us, peace for the future. It is our duty to be here."

The crowd cheerfully chanted and clapped hands on the street leading to St. Peter's Square as it moved slowly toward the basilica. Inside the square, people fell silent as if they were entering a sacred place. It became a procession of mourning, with people holding their hands tightly and whispering the rosary.

After taking a quick glimpse at the pope's remains as police whispered, "Hurry up," many leaned against the walls of the basilica and sobbed.

Earlier, 12 white-gloved pallbearers flanked by Swiss Guards in red-plumed helmets gingerly marched the body from the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, where it had lain in state for prelates and dignitaries, to the basilica as priests chanted the Litany of the Saints.

Chicago Cardinal Francis George said the cardinals prayed for about one hour before the procession started to St. Peter's. George said the pope looked "at peace, but a man who had suffered."

Incense wafted through the church where John Paul's body will be laid to rest in an ancient grotto holding the remains of popes through the ages, after a funeral to be attended under heavy security by President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and dozens of other world leaders. Up to 2 million pilgrims are expected in Rome to pay respects.

Hours before the body was moved to the basilica, the College of Cardinals -- meeting in tradition-bound secrecy -- set Friday as the date for the funeral in the first of a series of gatherings preceding their secret vote this month to elect a new pope.

In London, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Charles postponed his wedding until Saturday so that he could attend the funeral.

Cuban President Fidel Castro announced three days of mourning beginning Sunday, and Hungary will hold a national day of mourning on Friday. But in Ireland, an overwhelmingly Catholic nation, Prime Minister Bertie Ahern stirred arguments by refusing to do the same.

The New York Times contributed to this report.

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