VATICAN CITY(CBSNewYork) — Excitement was building in Rome on Saturday, as the historic weekend canonization of two popes got underway.
Crowds from around the world gathered at the Vatican, many of those visitors were from the United States, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, Dolan is thrilled that he will be near the altar for Sunday’s sainthood ceremony for John XXIII and John Paul II.
“I’m going to be praying at Sunday’s Mass, and I’m going to be close to the action. That’s almost as good as the Steinbrenner box at Yankee Stadium (laughs),” Dolan said.
Pilgrims from Pope John Paul’s hometown of Wadowice, Poland prayed the Hail Mary and said the Rosary while they waited on-line for more than an hour to visit his tomb inside St. Peter’s Basilica.
A group of Nigerians made joyful noise and one man was dressed to impress in a suit made up of pictures of the soon-to-be saint.
John Paul II was the most widely traveled pope in history. He visited Nigeria twice in his papacy, Aiello reported.
The faithful from every corner of the globe were on hand to witness the canonization of a man who made the world his parish.
“I’ve already seen pilgrims from so many countries. There will be priests from so many countries and it’s perfect because the universal church and universal message of forgiveness for God’s people, the universality of the church couldn’t shine through any greater for an event like this,” American Seminarian, John Nahrang said.
It was literally a family reunion for the Wojcheck’s of Poland who crammed nine people into a van and made a 19-hour drive to reach Rome.
The excitement was tempered with concern for the huge crowds who were trying to get close to the action. A field hospital was set up, ambulances were at the ready, and nurses were on hand to help.
“We’re just worried about how close we’re gonna be able to get,” Paula Melideo said.
In Brooklyn, parishioners planned to gather for a prayer vigil for the canonization at St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Parish in Greenpoint.
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