Written by Robert Strybel Tuesday, 28 June 2011 09:30
WARSAW-On Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast day he himself had instituted, the late Pope John Paul II joined the ranks of the blesseds who are one step away from Catholic sainthood. Millions of Poles watched live broadcasts of the beatification in their homes, and at least 100,000 traveled to Rome for the event. They were among some 1.5 million pilgrims from all over the world who had converged on the Vatican to hear Pope Benedict XVI proclaim in Latin: "Through our Apostolic authority we give our assent for the Venerable Servant of God, John Paul II, Pope, to henceforth be called blessed and for his feast day to be observed on October 22nd of each year." That was the date of his 1978 papal inauguration.