CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Just weeks since Pope John Paul II was canonized as a saint, his personal secretary for decades makes a rare visit to Cleveland.
Along with his blessings, he brought a relic of the saint for the church.
The children of St. Stanislaus School and Cleveland Central Catholic welcomed Cardinal Stanislaus Dziwisz, archbishop from Krakow, Poland, with a polish song.
“We have a large Polish community here, a great presence and ... he knows he will be welcomed, Cleveland Central Catholic senior Katherine Lewicki said.
Thursday's visit was the Cardinal's second time here. In 1969, he accompanied then Cardinal Karol Wojtyla when he celebrated mass at St. Stanislaus. Nine years later, that cardinal became Pope John Paul II, who was recently raised to sainthood.
Through a polish translator Cardinal Dziwisz said, “I am sure he would say to you today that the Jesus is alive."
The cardinal reminded the children that Pope John Paul II, now a saint, was once at their church.
Through his translator he said, "as he used to say to young people, do not be afraid being saint, being holy."
St. Stanislaus School student Destiny Jackson saw the cardinal’s visit as historic.
“It was a blessing to our school to be able to come from Poland to over here. He doesn't go many places. For him to come here, it is an honor,” she said.
Cardinal Dziwisz is to gift a first class relic of Saint John Paul II to St. Stanislaus Church. It is a piece of a blood-stained cassock saved from the 1981 attempted assassination on the Pope.
“In addition that a relic is wonderful to begin with, we have that sentimental specialness that makes it even more appreciated by our people,” said Father Eric Orzech, pastor of St. Stanislaus.
Along with the relic, Cardinal Dziwisz leaves behind many blessings.
“God Bless you. God Bless Cleveland,” he said to the crowd.