Pope John Paul II: The pride of Poland

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Pope John Paul II: The pride of Poland

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He is the pride of Poland.

And in Krakow, around 200,000 Poles and pilgrims from around the world gathered to celebrate Pope John Paul II’s elevation to sainthood on Sunday.

As Karol Wojtyla, he was archbishop in the southern city before heading to the Vatican.

For many, sainthood means he has now taken his message further still.

“It is a great sign, a visible sign of divine presence on earth and we now have another advocate in Heaven,” said nun, Sister Malgorzata.

“I think it can convince a lot of people to come back to religion and then pray more and then do good, “ added Na Monphan, who came to Krakow from Thailand.

Thousands also gathered in Wadowice – the hometown of the then future pope – also hailed as a political icon, who helped to free Poland from Communist rule.

Among those deeply moved as they watched the canonisation on a large video screen was Anna Janczura from the town of Krynica Zdroj.

“It is an enormous honour,” she said.

“We waited for a Pole to become Pope and now he is proclaimed a Saint. I am speechless. I was crying and praying the entire day yesterday, as well as the evening and night.”

For many Poles the next logical step is for John Paul II to become their nation’s new patron saint.