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Baltimore Catholics Celebrate After Pope John Paul II Cleared For Sainthood

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Pope John Paul II is cleared for sainthood. The Vatican is fast-tracking the canonization.

As Gigi Barnett explains--Catholic churches nationwide and here in Baltimore are supporting the move.

A little more than eight years after his death, Pope John Paul could become a saint soon. It's cause for celebration for parishioners at Baltimore's Holy Rosary Church this weekend.

"Our prayers have been answered," said Justyna Sardin. "He lived his life as a saint, by example. Everything he did was holy."

John Paul visited Holy Rosary back in 1976 on a trip to America before becoming Pope. Now a relic of him as Pontiff sits at the front of the church.

"In the past, popes were not traveling. John Paul II was the first one to really go outside and see the people and he made a big difference," said Jean Paul Sardin.

Last week, the Vatican approved the miracle healing of a Costa Rican woman who prayed to John Paul. It's a necessary step to the ranks of sainthood.

The former pontiff isn't the only one on the fast track to becoming a saint. Church leaders are also pushing for the canonization of Pope John XXIII, who died in 1963.

"We have this Baltimore connection to John Paul II," said Monsignor Arthur Valenzano.

Monsignor Arthur Valenzano with the Baltimore Archdiocese says John Paul's time as pontiff still influences the church today. Plus, many of Baltimore's faithful back his canonization because they remember him well.

"When we can point to all of these saints in our time, it's a real affirmation of God's love for His people," Valenzano said.

The ceremony to canonize Pope John Paul II is expected before the end of the year.

Another miracle attributed to Pope John Paul II was approved three years ago. The Vatican says a French nun was cured of Parkinson's disease after praying to the Pontiff.

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