Vatican officials and Italian security agents are preparing Saint Peter's Square for the funeral of Pope John Paul the Second.
The funeral is scheduled to begin at eight hours Universal Time today (Friday).
It will likely be one of the the most watched events in world history. Millions will see it around the globe on television along with the hundreds of thousands of mourners in Rome.
They include one of the largest gatherings ever of heads of state and foreign dignitaries.
Italian authorities have closed much of Rome to cars. NATO jets will patrol a no-fly zone over the city while the Italian Navy patrols the Tiber River.
A veteran Vatican observer (James-Charles Noonan) tells VOA he expects the funeral to combine Catholic protocol with traditional Polish folk songs and costumes.
Following the mass, John Paul will be interred in an underground crypt where many previous popes are buried.
The pope's last will and testament, released Thursday, asks God for the strength to carry out his duties as long as he remained pope. He left no possessions of value and asked that his personal papers be burned.