Action News at Pope John Paul II's beatification

May 1, 2011 5:04:17 PM PDT
Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed his predecessor "blessed" after a nun said she prayed to John Paul and was healed of Parkinson's disease.

Action News reporter Alicia Vitarelli was at the Vatican for today's historic ceremony.

"It is unique. There is nothing quite like this - there is a spiritual feel to it, a very electric feel of excitement," said Bob Garrett of Georgia.

More than a million faithful - celebrating, crying, praying - all along the streets of Vatican City - bearing witness the quickest beatification in history. It was faster even than Mother Teresa's.

"He was such a dynamic leader and for him to be beatified at this point, this quickly, is a clear indication of how great he was," said David Peterman of Texas.

This is also the first time a pontiff would beatify his immediate predecessor.

"It is a historical moment and will have world-changing possibilities of renewal and hope and faith," according to Father Stephen Borleng of California. He says it's a bright spot during a dark hour for the Catholic Church.

Now that Pope John Paul II has been beatified and given the title of "Blessed" he can be publicly venerated - or honored with a ritual act of devotion. It's something many of the people gathered in St. Peter's Square today have been doing privately for years.

Lafayette Hill, Pa. tour operator Betty Butera told Action News, "Pope John Paul II is my mentor. He is absolutely wonderful. I think he was a saint before this." She brought a group of about 40 believers from Philadelphia. "I have brought many groups of people to be blessed by John Paul, and we have been very close him and he has touched our hands."

He has also touched many families - deeply. Father of five Ignacio Navarro from Spain believes the beloved pontiff cured his sick child. "We are giving thanks for him," Navarro told Action News.

The now Blessed Pope John Paull II's feast day will be celebrated on October 22nd, the anniversary of his 1978 installation as pontiff. One more miracle must be confirmed before he can be canonized a saint.