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Remembering now Saint John Paul II

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He supported Solidarity against the Communist regime. He initiated the new evangelization movement. He helped bring down the Itron Curtain. He attracted great crowds whenever he appeared.

But no matter what his influence or popularity on the international stage,Pope John Paul II may be best remembered for his performance on the personal one.

John Paul was not only approachable, (News programs constantly reported about his audiences with foreign dignitaries.) John Paul reached out to the common man.

One of my favorite stories was about Pope John Paul's private audiences with the street weepers of Rome. Not the drivers of those motorized vehicles with rotating brushes, mind you. These were with the men with the hand brooms and dust pans who literally swept the stone and paved roadways.

During one session one of the street sweepers asked the Pope to officiate as his wedding. John Paul not only accepted the invitation. He set up the ceremony in a Vatican chapel.

Not surprising this same Pontiff would don the clothes of a parish priest and slip away to hear confessions of regular parishioners.

One of my Polish parents most prized possessions was the papal blessing they received from Pope John Paul II, the first Polish Pope, for their 50th wedding anniversary.

It's only fitting John Paul II, was canonized on Divine Mercy Sunday, the day the Church celebrates the devotion made possible by person he helped bring into sainthood, St. Faustina.

Our current Pope Francis called John Paul "pope of the family."

Related story:

Beatification of Pope John Paul II scheduled for May 1

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