An aerial view of the Vatican (AP Photo/Plinio Lepri - File)
Updated: Saturday, 15 Jan 2011, 12:46 PM EST
Published : Saturday, 15 Jan 2011, 12:46 PM EST
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Crowd control experts are rushing to ready Rome for an estimated 2 million pilgrims for Pope John Paul II's beatification on May 1, when the city will still be jammed with Easter week tourists.
The last turnout so big in Rome was the 3 million mourners for John Paul's funeral in 2005.
Even popular ceremonies in his papacy didn't come near drawing so many faithful. When an ailing John Paul beatified Mother Teresa in 2003 in St. Peter's Square, 300,000 pilgrims attended.
Civil defense staff are expected to meet pilgrims' buses and channel them down selected streets to the square. Easter is April 24, meaning Rome's hotels will be largely full, so organizers might look to Romans to open their homes to pilgrims.