Pilgrims have arrived in Rome, thronging the streets of the ancient city, crowding souvenir stalls and flocking to St. Peter’s Basilica.
The Vatican has hung banners bearing the images of John Paul II and John XXIII, the two popes who will be made saints Sunday.
As the pilgrims pour into Rome, the atmosphere is joyful. These two popes are not remote saints, many Catholics grew up with them. They are familiar and have touched people’s lives.
Each man is being raised to sainthood because the church believes they lived holy lives and because miracles have been attributed to them after their deaths.
One Costa Rican woman said she was miraculously cured of a brain aneurysm in 2011, after praying to John Paul II.
“A voice said, ‘Stand up and don’t be afraid,’” she recalled.
As church law requires, a team of Vatican doctors certified the cure had no medical explanation.
Fourteen years ago, Carrie Giebel caught a glimpse of the pope at the World Youth Day in Rome. She gave her life to the church, first in Belize, now in the Archdiocese of San Diego. She flew all the way to Rome on her own faith journey.
“I am so grateful,” she told ABC News. “So here I am today to say thank you to John Paul, to honor him and to see what he has next for me to do.”