Sep 01, 2014

John Paul II Beatification, the Greatest Pope everOn the 1st of May 2011 the Beatification of Pope John Paul ll will be held in St. Peter's square in Rome.
The Polish Pope, as he was known by many, died on the 2nd of April 2005 after 26 years as head of the Catholic Church.
Thousands of pilgrims filled St. Peters square that evening, those who couldn't be there were following the last hours of their beloved Pope from their homes. The memory of him on his balcony only a few days before when he found it difficult to speak, was still in everyone's mind. As the hours passed more and more people arrived in the square showing that, for them, it was important to just" be there". Emotions were deep, everyone felt the sadness in the air, many people were crying. It was evident to all that this was an historic event and that John Paul was greatly loved by everyone.
The windows of the Papal appartments had remained in darkness that evening, everyone understood that the Pope was resting, when the lights came on, it was evident that something had happened. 
At 9.35pm on Saturday the 2nd of April 2005 Pope John Paul ll died at the age of 84.
In the days that followed St. Peter's square became the centre of the world, there were so many people that the Italian authorities had to call in the Civil Protection to help the pilgrims; they distributed bottles of water to everyone and asked the residents to open their homes for those in need, which everyone did willingly.
 Heads of state from all over the world arrived in Rome for John Paul's funeral which took place outside in St. Peters square in front of hundreds of thousands of people. During the service the pilgrims began to shout "Saint now".

The Catholic Church is normally very cautious when creating new saints, it's a very long and laborious process and the proof of the sainthood must be without doubt.
In this case, however, the Church moved very quickly.
After having recognized only one miracle," a nun who had an incurable desease had been cured" the Beatification of Pope John Paul ll was decided.

I was in the square the day of the funeral, I was also one of the stewards on the flight which took John paul ll to India on the 31st of january 1986.
The top deck was reserved for the Pope and his secretary, downstairs were the cardinals and the diplomatic personel who were accompanying him, all the giornalists were at the back.
When the Holy Father arrived on board all members of the crew were there to greet him, he shook our hands, had a few words to say to everyone and presented us with a medalion and stamps to commemorate the event.
The memory of that day still remains with me together with my medalion.

Two and a half million people have already booked their hotels, pensioni, bed and breakfasts and convents to be in St. Peters square on the 1st of May this year, it will be a day to remember for all the pilgrims and tourists lucky to be in Rome on such a special day. But be aware that that day John Paul will be taking care of you all from up above! He loves you!