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Pope John Paul II

During his 26 years as head of the Roman Catholic Church, John Paul II is credited with helping to bring down communism, energizing young Catholics and bolstering the church presence in the developing world. The Church will beatify John Paul in Rome Sunday, May 1. The ceremony is an important milestone on the road to Catholic sainthood.

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Pope John Paul II blesses the faithful in St. Peter's Square from a Vatican City balcony after he was named Pontiff in 1978 (AP)
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Pope John Paul II blesses the faithful in St. Peter's Square from a Vatican City balcony after he was named Pontiff in 1978 (AP)

Pope John Paul II is shot in St. Peter's Square in 1981 (AP)
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Pope John Paul II is shot in St. Peter's Square in 1981 (AP)

Pope John Paul II celebrates mass in New York's Central Park, Oct. 7, 1995
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Pope John Paul II celebrates mass in New York's Central Park, Oct. 7, 1995

Pope John Paul II is assisted by his secretary, Stanislaw Dzjwisz, in 1995 (AP Photo/Giancarlo)
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Pope John Paul II is assisted by his secretary, Stanislaw Dzjwisz, in 1995 (AP Photo/Giancarlo)

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