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Poles held night vigils across the country on Saturday (April 26), a day ahead of the canonisation of Pope John II who will ...
be declared a saint during a ceremony in the Vatican. A few thousand Krakow residents and pilgrims gathered in front of the Krakow Curia building where John Paul II served as a priest and where he greeted pilgrims during his frequent pilgrimages to his homeland.
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Poles held night vigils across the country on Saturday (April 26), a day ahead of the canonisation of Pope John II who will be declared a saint during a ceremony in the Vatican. A few thousand Krakow residents and pilgrims gathered in front of the Krakow Curia building where John Paul II served as a priest and where he greeted pilgrims during his frequent pilgrimages to his homeland. The faithful also prayed in a church frequented by the Pope, a Franciscan Basilica across the street from the Curia. On Sunday (April 27) Pope Francis will declare as saints John Paul II, the revered Pole who led the Church for almost 27 years before his death in 2005 and John XXIII, the Italian pontiff who launched the modernising Second Vatican Council in 1962. While the late Polish pope is hailed for his role in helping to bring about the fall of communism, critics have questioned his actions as child abuse scandals, which have since shaken the moral authority of leaders of the world's largest religious denomination, began coming into the open. Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Krakow, Poland, was elected the first non-Italian pope in 450 years in 1978. He took the papacy on the road, visiting about 140 countries, and for nearly all of them it was their first papal visit. John Paul was credited with being instrumental in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989 because of his steadfast defence of the Solidarity trade union in Poland. He was nearly killed by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca in St Peter's Square in 1981 and, towards the end of his life, his struggle with ill health was seen by millions around the world whenever he appeared on television. Millions of people attended his funeral in April 2005, and many cried "Santo Subito" or "Make him a saint immediately". His successor, former pope Benedict, waived a Church rule that normally requires a five-year waiting period before the preliminaries to sainthood can even begin.