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Rome, World prepares for Beatification of Pope John Paul II

by WGGB Staff

VATICAN CITY, Italy (WGGB) — During Pope John Paul II’s funeral in Rome in 2005, crowds chanted “Santo Subito!” which means ‘Make him a saint now.’  His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, listened and on Sunday, Pope John Paul II will be beatified.  

Beatification is a major step towards sainthood in the Catholic church.  

Preparations are well underway here at the Vatican.  Some are estimating the crowds for Sunday’s events to be over 1,000,000 people.  

Long lines waited for those waiting to get in some of the major attractions including the Vatican Museum on Wednesday.  Large screens are being set up so the large crowds can see the beatification.  

They are covering from all over the world for Pope John Paul’s beatification.  Even non-Catholics respect John Paul’s papacy, like this group from Israel.  

One man visiting from Israel noted, “We like him very much.  We are Jewish, but we know that noted many good things about Israel and the Jewish people and we like him.”  

Beatification is the step before Canonization, which is when someone is declared a saint.   In order for Pope John Paul II to be canonized, a second miracle is needed after his beatification.  

The first miracle – the one that paved the way for his beatification – was the healing of a French nun who suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, the same disease that afflicted the Pope during his final years.  

Pope John Paul II’s image is everywhere in Rome as the city prepares for this historic weekend.    A large contingent is expected to attend from the Pope’s homeland in Poland.  

Pope John Paul II is being beatified for the ways he personally lived the virtues of faith, hope and love.

abc40 and FOX 6′s Ray Hershel is the only local reporter in Rome covering this historic event.  He will be filing reports all through the week, through Sunday’s Beatification Service.