CLEVELAND, Ohio -- It was a day of celebration at St. Stanislaus Church in Cleveland’s Slavic Village Sunday, just hours after Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II are proclaimed saints.
While there was joy for both men, the faithful at St. Stanislaus, a predominately Polish parish, have a special adoration for John Paul, the first Polish pope in modern times.
“Many of our parishioners knew him in Poland. He baptized some of them, confirmed some of them. They knew him as a parish priest," parishioner Rob Jegelewski said.
In September 1969, Pope John Paul -- then Cardinal Archbishop of Krakow, Poland -- celebrated mass at St. Stanislaus.
Included in a shrine to now-Pope Saint John Paul is a miter he wore that was gifted to the church.
“The first time when they showed us the miter, I think everybody had tears in their eyes because it was like this is the closest you are ever going to get to a real saint," parishioner Donna Ciborowski said.
Since 2009, a monthly mass has been held at St. Stanislaus to pray for the sole intention that Pope John Paul would become a saint.
"A lot of knew he was a saint before he was officially canonized. So, it means a lot to our people and our parish." Jagelewski said.
Many faithful feel that Pope John Paul is deserving of sainthood because of his impact on the Catholic Church.
"He changed the way people look at the church in modern times and was wonderful with the youth. He’s kind of our early representative up in heaven. The saints are heroes for us here,” parishioner Tom Beltavski said.