PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Area Catholics with Polish roots are among those celebrating the beatification.

The open, outstretched arms of John Paul II welcome pilgrims to this national shrine of Our Lady of Czestochwa; a statue as tall as his giant significance to the Catholic Church and especially to his homeland.

“He was a true Polish patriot.”

Edmund from North Jersey cites a favorite phrase of the late pontiff, “Open the doors to Christ.”

“He appealed to the common person, the individual themselves; whether they were Polish or non-Polish”

Wanda from Mt. Laurel by way of Poland says it was John Paul’s gift of connecting with young and old alike. “He had something inside him that drove people to him. There’s no explanation.”

Reported By Ian Bush, KYW Newsradio

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