Stanstead couple attend John Paul II beatification
OnMay 1st, over one and a half million people converged on Rome to be a part of the beatification process of Pope John Paul II, the last step to sainthood. Among those were Diane and Richard Groleau, of Stanstead, who travelled to Rome to witness the occasion. “We bought our tickets in January when I heard about the event. When I wrote my Master’s Degree in Theology, the subject I chose was ‘Marriage according to John Paul II’. I read many of his articles and books, working two years on that memoir. John Paul II became a friend dur- ing that time and that was the main reason why we went there,” explained Mrs. Groleau.
Although the couple had hoped to witness the event at St.Peter’s Square in the Vatican City, when their tour bus arrived there at 7:00 in the morning on May 1st, the Square was already filled to capacity with the faithful. The couple along with their fellow tourists were rerouted to Rome’s Circus Maximus where about 300,000 people gathered to watch the event with the help of giant video screens. “There were people from many different countries, of different ages, and you could hear different languages being spoken all around. It was a nice communion with the whole world,” Mrs. Groleau added.
Ninety heads of State were among the one and a half million in St. Peter’s Square, including the presidents of Poland and Mexico and the Zimbabwean leader, Robert Mugabe.
Diane Groleau poses in St. Peter’s Square with a giant poster of John Paul II in the background.