Some 200,000 people have been holding a candlelit prayer vigil in Rome’s Circus Maximus in preparation for today’s beatification of Pope John Paul II.
Among those at the former site of Roman chariot races was the French nun, Sister Marie Pierre Simon, who says she was cured of Parkinsons after praying to the late pontiff.
“This is a very special moment for Christians because we loved this pope right from the beginning. We are with him and we could not have missed this,” said one woman attending the vigil.
The road to sainthood in the Catholic Church is long and complicated. Today’s beatification is just a step along it.
Another miracle will need to be attributed to John Paul to take the process further.
But the pope was so popular the call for him to be made a saint began immediately after his death in 2005. And that popularity does not seem to have waned.