I was surprised that the Pope's Requiem Mass was held outdoors, Spring weather being so unpredictable. Then again, how could they hold this mass indoors and deny the millions of people who had flocked to Vatican City at least a far-away glimpse of the events. Thousands stood shoulder to shoulder on St. Peter's Square and beyond. There were people as far back as the eye could see, and overhead threatening clouds were evident. The robes and vestments of the prelates gathered were blowing in the howling winds of St. Peter's Square. However, miraculously the rain held up, and the ceremony went off without a hitch. It was a memorable service -- moving at times. I don't believe there has ever been so much clapping and cheering at the funeral mass of a pope before -- but it never turned into an irreverent scene at all. The crowd chanted either "Santo" or "Magno" (Saint or Great) or both: a reference to the grassroots movement, that started the very day the pope died, which aims to cannonize the Pontiff and attach the term "The Great" to his name. This has not happened in centuries, and as I was watching the telecast I knew that I was witnessing history in the making.
I also could not help but wonder if I was watching the next pope at the altar. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the current Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Dean of the College of Cardinals, and Cardinal from Germany sayed the Mass, and rumors are swirling that he might be the successor to John Paul II. Hopefully, in a few weeks we will know.