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Late Pope John Paull II Cleared For Sainthood, Has Local Ties

(Photo credit: Patrick Hertzog/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: Patrick Hertzog/AFP/Getty Images)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When Pope John Paul II wanted someone to design the Chapel of the Holy Spirit in the Vatican — the job fell to Pittsburgh architect Lou Astorino — who went to Rome to meet him.

“When we were introduced as being from Pittsburgh he said ‘Pittsburgh, I know Pittsburgh, it was beautiful,’” Astorino said.

John Paul visited Pittsburgh as a cardinal and Astorino says in all of his interaction the pope never lost that common touch.

“Extremely humble, extremely caring, extremely holy,” he says. “Those were my impressions of the man … obviously saintly.”

“He knew how to be very downtown earth with people and he knew the human experience and could be very down to earth with that,” Bishop David Zubik said.

Zubik was made a bishop by John Paul and says that the pope never lost his humility even as he changed the world — from the fall communism to his opening up dialogues with other world religion.

But he said there had a special impact on the young around the world and here in particular.

“And I think that would one his greatest contribution to the church in the city of Pittsburgh and he got a lot of those people fired up,” Zubik said.

But John Paul’s reach seemed to touch people of all ages — including seniors in Polish Hill living at John Paul Plaza.

“He was the best Pope I think,” Anthony Welka said. “He tried to help everybody.”

And now the people’s pope will become a saint.

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