Overnight vigil for the Pope in St Peter's Square

 Many thousands of people held an evening vigil for Pope John Paul II in St Peter's Square last night. Up to 70,000 attended past midnight. By the early morning there were still several hundred waiting and the crowds have begun to grow once more. Last night Vatican officials reported that the Holy Father's breathing was shallow, his blood pressure low and he was having difficulties with his heart and kidneys, but he added that the Pope was visibly participating in prayers around his sickbed. The Pope's vicar general of Rome said the pontiff was already "at one" with Jesus Christ. Cardinal Camillo Ruini told a packed Mass in Rome's St John Lateran cathedral last night: "I invite all Romans and all Italians to intensify their prayers. "We want to be close to him in this hour through the same loving closeness with which John Paul II has accompanied us for nearly 27 years."

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