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Friday, July 5, 2013 - 6:49pm
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — Pope John Paul II will be named a saint. Vatican officials made the announcement Friday morning.
His progression to sainthood comes eight years after John Paul II's passing, and is the fastest in modern times. Even so, Catholics in El Paso said they felt it was long overdue.
"He did wonderful things while on Earth, and I think he's doing them now while in Heaven," said El Pasoan Bill Neder.
The requirements for sainthood include two confirmed miracles. For Pope John Paul II, those include healing a nun of Parkinson's disease, which he also suffered from in his lifetime. The second miracle was a Costa Rican woman who was cured of a brain injury.
Until now, the fastest person to be named a saint was Saint JoseMaria Escriva, which was declared a saint in 2002 by Pope John Paul II himself. It happened 27 years after Escriva's death.
Irma Paiz said she has been in Pope John Paul presence twice before when he visited her hometown of Monterrey, Mexico.
"You could feel the energy. You could feel the peace whenever he would pass by next to you, you can feel peace," said Paiz.
Monsignor Arturo Bañuelas, Pastor at St. Pius Catholic Church in El Paso, described his own experience standing alongside Pope John Paul II during a Holy Thursday mass inside of St. Peter's Basilica.
"You could feel that I was in the presence of an extraordinary person. I could feel he was intimately connected with God," said Bañuelas.
He said the Pope's outgoing and charismatic personality is one of the reasons Catholics called on the church to make him a saint so quickly.
"For so many millions, he was already a saint as he was alive when he died the voice of the people spoke and the Church says we're listening," said Bañuelas.
The Vatican also said the late Pope John the 23rd, who led the church from 1958 to 1963, would also be made a saint.
Dates for the canonization ceremonies were not immediately given, but the Vatican said they were expected to take place by the end of the year.