Because of his cancer treatments, Cardinal Francis George is one of those people who could not make it to Rome. Instead, he said a special mass at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, capping off 24 hours of celebrations in the Chicago area.
He may be frail, but Cardinal Francis George was determined to publicly honor the two new saints. Holy Name Cathedral was packed as George presided over a special mass for Popes John 23rd and John Paul II.
While Saint John the 23rd's contributions were not ignored, after mass the cardinal shared his memories of the pope he knew personally, John Paul II.
"He had a sense of irony about himself, he didn't take himself too seriously," Cardinal George said.
For so many people, John Paul II is not only a pope and saint in their lifetime, but he was someone who many have met or seen in person. Nicole Gomez saw John Paul three different times.
"I think one of the reason's JP2 deserves to be a saint is he had such a belief in young people and he always told us never to doubt yourself," she said.
Edyta Dudek met John Paul when she was 14.
"That was a life changing experience at 14 and after that Poland was different, my life was different," SHE SAID.
The Polish Pope John Paul II'S rise from pope to sainthood is a huge sense of pride in Chicago's Polish community. Sunday morning hundreds marched to St. Hyacinth Basicila for a Polish mass, and on the Southwest Side many more gathered at Five Holy Martyrs Parish, the same church where the John Paul said mass 34 years ago, many still hanging on to their memories of that special day.
"He has done so much for the poles and so much for the parish," said Annette Nowakowski.
When asked about his health, Cardinal George admitted he is weak and that he was tired before, during and after the mass, but said the occasion made it all worth it.