Prayers Answered: Local Catholics React to Pope Sainthood

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CLEVELAND– Pope Francis has cleared the way for Pope John Paul II to become a saint.

Many Catholics, including here in Northeast Ohio, were anticipating the day when the Blessed Pope would be raised to sainthood.

The news spread through Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood Friday.

Frances Marszal of Vermilion has a special connection to the Pope. She received one of her sacraments from him. “I’m so happy because I go to him for my confirmation. I know him when he was priest. I take confirmation from him,” Marszal said.

The Vatican confirmed the miracle that brought Pope John Paul to sainthood involved the healing of a woman from Costa Rica with a brain injury.  “He was a very loving guy.  You could tell he had a lot of love in his eyes. Whenever you saw him, he was just kind and generous for all the people,” said Nicole Stegawski of the Polish Village Cuisine.

His miter, a relic and an icon of Pope John Paul adorn Saint Stanislaus Church where the congregation holds a strong connection to the Polish pontiff.

It is the first place he celebrated mass in North America when he was Cardinal in Poland. “He was a fellow countryman. And, the way that he would relate to the Polish community is something that didn’t require further explanation. It was just there from heart to heart,” Fr. Eric Orzech of St. Stanislaus Church said.

Since his death, people have been coming to St. Stanislaus to pray that Pope John Paul would become a saint.

David Krakowski, director of music and liturgy at St. Stanislaus said they would also ask for his intercession to answer their prayers.

“He was just a great person, such an intelligent person, but also such a kind person.  As important as he was, he never seemed to lose the humanity aspect of his self,” Krakowski said.

And, it  was that love for humanity that many feel was Pope John Paul’s greatest gift.

Pope Francis also decided to make Pope John XXIII a saint, even though the Vatican has not confirmed a second miracle credited to him.

The dual canonization ceremonies for Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII are expected to happen before the end of the year.

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