BUFFALO (WKBW) Pope John Paul II will become a saint, after current Pope Francis attributed a miracle to him, clearing his way to canonization Friday.
The news is cause for celebration among many local Catholics, including two priests with unique and special connections to John Paul.
Father Thaddeus Bocianowski of St. Stanislaus parish in Buffalo has gone from a sitting in class being taught by John Paul II in Poland to running the church which is a shrine to the now soon-to-be saint.
"Joyful moment for Polonia, for the people in buffalo and the surrounding area," the priest said.
St. Stan's is also home to a relic of John Paul II's, a drop of his blood encased in a gold cross. Relics hold very special meaning in the Catholic faith, especially those of saints.
"This is very important so it is more visible, his presence here in this beautiful church," Fr. Bocianowski added.
In Lakeview, a recently merged parish chose the name Blessed John Paul II, complete with statues and artwork. The parish now plans on replacing "Blessed" with "Saint."
"Everyone's been pretty excited today. It's just a great day for us to celebrate, our identity as a parish, it's something that gels us together after going through a merge, that we can all celebrate, our patron becoming a saint," Fr. Peter Karales of Blessed John Paul II parish said.
Western New York is no stranger to talks of sainthood. Father Nelson Baker is still in the canonization process that Pope John Paul is about to complete.