“You’ve got a good chunk of humanity who can remember these two men. This is going to be a very vivid way to say that holiness, heroic sanctity, the pursuit of virtue is for today,” Dolan said.
Three million people are expected to attend the ceremonies at the Vatican, including many who, like John Paul II, are of Polish descent. A New Jersey man organizing a pilgrimage, Yurek Majcherczyk, grew up in Poland and met the future saint while he was bishop of Krakow. Many Poles credit John Paul II for ending communism in Poland.
“He teached to people, ‘Don’t be afraid,’” Majcherczyk said.
Dolan referred to the two popes as peasants, in a positive sense, saying, “A peasant, as poets use that word, meaning a man of the earth, a man of common people. Somebody who grew up the hard way.”