For many Catholics, actually seeing the Pope, not just John Paul but any Pope, is rare. Dennis, for just a fleeting moment, caught fate.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
Sunday's double sainthood ceremony at the Vatican canonized John XXIII and John Paul II.
There aren't many people in the world who can say they have seen, touched or met a saint.
But now, some metro residents will be able to say just that after John Paul was canonized by the Catholic church.
"In our Catholic faith, we believe we don't have to restrict ourselves to just people in this world to ask to pray with us. Just like you would ask a minister or somebody that you thought as holy in this world to pray. We also invite the saints to pray with us and go to God with our intentions," Archbishop Joseph Naumann said.
John Paul was one of the most revered leaders in the world. His appeal to so many youth was unprecedented during his 25-year reign as the head of the Catholic church.
"John Paul kind of changed the face of the papacy, because he traveled more than any other Pope. It is believed that he was probably seen more than any other person in human history," Naumann said.
He was gifted in several languages and played a significant role in the collapse of communism.
"In his native Poland, it was really his trip to Poland after he was elected to Pope that really began the unraveling of the Iron Curtain," Naumann said.
John Paul was known as "The Great" before his death in 2005.
"He was awesome because of his reputation being what it was to be friendly to people," Donna Dennis said.
For many Catholics, actually seeing the Pope, not just John Paul but any Pope, is rare.
Dennis, for just a fleeting moment, caught fate.
"We were in first row of the audience if you will," she said.
Her husband captured a split-second moment as the Pope passed. The couple visited the Vatican in Rome in 1979.
"This is tradition for him to come out and meet and greet with you," Dennis said.
In his "Pope-mobile," before it was surrounded by protective covering, Dennis reached out her hand and her life was forever changed.
Knowing that she touched, who will now become a saint, brings tears to her eyes.
"I think it makes you think a little deeper a little more that's inside of you to religion. It isn't just being a Catholic either, it is a religious experience for all religions," Dennis said.
Naumann met John Paul and credits his career to the leader.
"It's pretty amazing to know that you've actually encountered somebody that we all knew the Pope was a remarkable man and a very holy person. But now to have those official approvals by the church makes it all special," Naumann said.
John Paul traveled often to the United States. Housed at the Strawberry Hill Museum in Kansas City, KS, are items from the Pope's plane.
The bed he slept in, the dishes he used even his toothbrush will soon be considered holy relics.
John Paul even made a stop in the Midwest in the late 90s.
"It was a huge assignment," said Krista Klaus, a young KCTV5 reporter at the time.
Klaus, along with the late Wendell Anschutz, covered the Pope's visit to St. Louis.
"And it was like Beetle mania, if you can imagine. It was people screaming and chanting and crying and cheering," she said.
She recalls the spiritual energy.
"In the mass was the energy in the Staple Center, the energy in the Staple Center in that arena was incredible. I mean you felt and uplifting. You knew that you were in the middle of something incredible and special," Klaus said.
Those who have seen, met or even touched John Paul will soon have the privilege of retelling that story a different way. Now they can say they have seen, met and touched a holy saint.
To be canonized, two miracles must be performed after his death.
In John Paul's canonizing process, one of the miracles performed was the healing of a woman with Parkinson's disease.
Naumann said doctors could not medically or scientifically explain her cure. She told doctors she prayed to John Paul.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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