Roman Catholics in Poland, at the Vatican and around the world will mark the first anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul Sunday with prayers and special masses.

Officials Saturday said they expect thousands of pilgrims for services Sunday at the Vatican.  Pope Benedict, John Paul's successor, will hold a special mass to mark the exact moment of the pope's passing.

Special masses in memory of the late pope also will be held Sunday in Krakow, Poland, where John Paul served as a priest, and in his hometown, the southern town of Wadowice.

Pope John Paul, who was born Karol Wojtyla, died one year ago April 2, after a long battle with a number of crippling illnesses.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.