The faithful knelt in prayer or gazed up at the Pope’s third-floor Vatican window Friday in St. Peter’s Square as word of the ailing Pontiff’s worsening health spread.
Tourists and pilgrims began arriving late Thursday, but police kept them off the square.
Some knelt on the cobblestones to pray while others wrapped blankets around themselves to ward off the nighttime chill.
Rome police say they expect hundreds of thousands of pilgrims over the next few days and will have extra police on hand to help them move about.
Among those making a pilgrimage today was Rome's chief rabbi.
Swiss Guards in colorful uniforms stood by at the open Bronze Door under a portico off the square, which by tradition is closed upon the death of a pontiff.
People around the world are praying for John Paul.
In Wadowice, the southern Polish town where the Pope grew up, people skipped school and work to pray in the town's church.
Sympathy crossed religious boundaries for John Paul, who has worked for better relations with both Jews and Muslims.
A leading French Muslim described the ailing Pontiff as a "man of peace."
A British archbishop says the Pope has moved the papal ministry beyond Catholics to include the whole world.
An archbishop in Zimbabwe is praying the Pope "goes home gently."
He says it's been a full life and praying for recovery "doesn't make sense."