by: Peter Daut Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be declared saints at their double canonization Sunday, an event that's expected to draw millions of pilgrims to the Vatican.
Kathy Schmugge from Fort Mill is one of them.
"The streets are packed, it's amazing. You feel that connection with all the other people," she said.
Father Pat Hoare is a pastor at St. John Neumann Church in Charlotte. He met John Paul II at the Vatican in 2003, and feels a personal connection to the pope who won over the hearts of many Catholics during his time as pontiff from 1978-2005.
"Even when he couldn't speak, he was out on the balcony of St. Peter's proclaiming that every human life is sacred," he said.
John Paul II visited Columbia, S.C., in 1987 as part of a nine-city US tour.
John XXIII was pontiff from 1958-1963, and is credited with ushering in the modern Catholic church in the '60s. The church will declare both popes led lives of holiness, and are worthy of imitation by the faithful.
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