PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A historic moment for the Roman Catholic church is set for Sunday as the late pope John Paul II second is “beatified” during ceremonies on St. Peter’s square in the Vatican. He will now be just one step away from being recognized as a saint.

One Philadelphia area native worked closely with the pontiff during his nearly 27-year-papacy.

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Cardinal John Foley, now retired and living in Delaware County, was tapped to run the communications office at the Vatican when John Paul II was elected pope back in 1978.

He served there until the pontiff’s death in 2005 and later was elevated to cardinal and given other duties by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Foley remembers being in Pope John Paul’s private chapel for Mass and prayer on many occasions.

“He would be kneeling there at his prie dieu, his kneeler, and you could almost hear him carry on a conversation with God. He’d be going: (grunting sounds) as if to say, you know he had something to complain about or had something to ask for and it was almost being expressed orally in that way.”

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Foley says John Paul the Second’s legacy is that of a pilgrim who tried to call the world to the love of God.

Listen to more of  the conversation with Cardinal Foley in the player below.

Reported by Mark Abrams, KYW Newsradio

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