Poles already think of John Paul II as a saint
- About 50,000 people brave rain in Krakow to watch beatification ceremony at Vatican
- For many, Karol Wojtyla's role in the fall of communism is his true miracle
- Krakow student: "It's a great source of pride for us to have another Pole blessed"
At the Sanctuary for Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki, Krakow, around 50,000 people braved the rain to watch the beatification ceremony live from the Vatican. The organizers had expected higher turnout in Krakow.
Many brought camping equipment, deck chairs and packed lunches.
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It's Karol Wojtyla's role in the fall of communism that is his true miracle for many people in Poland.
There were many here who were too young to remember communism. But they feel their lives were touched, even transformed, by their Polish pope.
One Krakow student said: "It's a great source of pride for us to have another Pole blessed. I didn't have the chance to attend a Mass celebrated by the pope, but I watched his visits on television."
"I don't even know how to describe it," said another. "He's like a second father for me."
In Krakow's main market square, there's a huge photo exhibition devoted to John Paul II.
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Portraits as he overlooks his beloved Tatra Mountains or aerial shots of Mass attended by hundreds of thousands in Krakow's Blonia meadow.
Children pose beside giant photos of a pope they'll never know. But his spirit lives on in the collective memory of the Polish nation.