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Church Uses Blood As Pope John Paul Relic

A picture of late Pope John Paul II, is framed by two nuns prior to the start of the Easter mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's square, at the Vatican, April 24, 2011

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.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.