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CNN doc looks at the final days of Pope John Paul II

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MUMBAI: News channel CNN will air a two-hour documentary that takes viewers inside the secret world of the Vatican for the untold stories on the last days of Pope John Paul II. CNN faith and values correspondent Delia Gallagher obtained access to both the Vatican and to those who knew the pope best.

The first part of CNN Presents: The Last Days Of Pope John Paul II airs on 2 April at 10 30 am, 15 April at 11 30 am and 7 30 pm. The second part airs on 2 April at 5 30 pm and on 16 April at 11 30 am. Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Pope John Paul II's friend and personal secretary for 40 years, takes viewers inside the pope's private chapel in Kraków, to recount the pope's early days as a young cardinal and archbishop in Poland, and later, his final hours in the papal apartment.

Gallagher, who reported from the Vatican for seven years prior to joining CNN, introduces viewers to the pope's medical team and confidantes who movingly describe the ailing pontiff's acceptance of his fate. "This pope, who had taught so many people around the world how to live, was also teaching – in those moments – how a person can die,” recalls Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the Vatican spokesman whose emotional press conference signalled to the world that the end of Pope John Paul II's life was truly near.

While inside the Vatican , nuns and cardinals prayed over the pope's body, outside an estimated seven million pilgrims crowded into St. Peter's Square and the streets of Rome to pray for the pope. “Catholics and non-Catholics alike were mesmerized by the last days of Pope John Paul II – and later, by the secret conclave that selected his successor,” said Mark Nelson, senior executive producer for CNN PRESENTS , “CNN will now show viewers what they were unable to see then.”

Millions worldwide watched one of history's largest funeral masses, and the spontaneous chants of “santo subito” – “sainthood now” – that erupted from the mourners. In interviews with the men charged with proving Pope John Paul II's sainthood, Gallagher speaks with Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, who oversees the canonization process for the Catholic Church, and Monsignor Slawomir Oder, who is investigating miracles attributed to Pope John Paul II.

Other insights and interviews include:

Edmund Casimir Cardinal Szoka, the governor of Vatican City, and Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., who discuss the cardinals' activities during the pope's funeral and the conclave voting process, and

Cardinal Szoka, Francis Cardinal George, the archbishop of Chicago, and Renato Cardinal Boccardo, secretary-general of Vatican City , describe the confusion inside the Sistine Chapel as the cardinals tried to operate the papal bells and chimney to alert the world that a new pope had been elected.

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