WARSAW, Poland – As pallbearers carried the simple wooden coffin of Pope John Paul II (search) into St. Peter's Basilica for burial, one of his closest living relatives watched from Poland, unable to make the trip to Vatican City (search).
"This is so sad, really sad to watch this funeral," said Bronislaw Wojtyla (search), 81, a second cousin to the pope, told The Associated Press by telephone from the southern city of Kety. "But it was a beautiful ceremony. I really wanted to go."
The pope, born Karol Wojtyla in Wadowice, Poland, died Saturday at age 84. Bronislaw Wojtyla's grandfather and the pope's grandfather were brothers.
Bronislaw Wojtyla said his two sisters also could not make the journey to the Vatican. But his daughter, Bronislawa, and his grandchildren did.
"I always hoped I would still be able to see him," Bronislaw Wojtyla said. "(But) the Holy Father wrote to me, the last letter was from March 30. He must have known he was dying."
Bronislaw Wojtyla said the last time he saw the pope was in Wadowice in 2002.