One year since historic beatification of John Paul II
May 1 marks the one year anniversary since the beatification of Pope John Paul II. The time was marked by days of celebrations as pilgrims flooded the streets of Rome.
The Vatican was in full swing preparing for the event, placing the largest photo in history of John Paul II on display in St. Peter's Square. Along with it were some of the most memorable photos from each year of his pontificate.
There was also a statue of him placed on the Via della Conciliazione, the large avenue that leads to the Vatican.
To prepare for the beatification, a candlelight vigil was also held in remembrance of the polish pope. At Rome's Circus Maximus, thousands of people gathered to celebrate the life of the man, whom many already considered a saint.
“For me he is already a saint. I was present at all of the important moments, when he was elected, when they announced he had passed to the next life, for his funeral, and so I couldn't miss today. I was there for all of those important moments so tonight I also came because he truly is a saint.”
“It's something very special. I arrived a little late but I could still feel the vibration, the joy, and the jubilation that people have to be here this morning and experience this day.”
The vigil gathered people from every corner of the world, of every age, and different backgrounds. But they all shared a common theme of somehow feeling connected to the pope that filled the seat of Peter for most of their lives.
“John Paul II gave me serenity, he has accompanied me throughout these years. I'm 40 years old so I've lived through the years of his pontificate. I remember when he was elected and I was very small.”
In the early morning hours before the ceremony, the Vatican opened it's gates to the flood of pilgrims waiting to get a front row seat.
By 10 AM, some two million people were present during the Mass when Benedict XVI pronounced the Latin formula that made John Paul II a blessed.
Then a tapestry of a smiling John Paul II was unveiled marking his beatification and leaving him only one step away from being declared a saint by the Church.
Source: Rome Reports