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Latino State News

Chicago Catholics Prepare for Pope John Paul II’s Beatification

As Catholics all across the world anticipate the beatification of Pope John Paul II, some Chicagoans are making plans to celebrate in their own way.

Sister Renata Bochenek of Hoy Trinity Polish Mission wish being decorating the Chicago church in the Pope’s honor.

“I wanted to do something for him,” she said. “I’m really grateful to God for this person in my life.”

Bochenek met the pope in 2000 while bringing a children’s chorus from Chicago to Rome to sing for him, and told the Chicago Sun Times that she cried when she was with him.

“It was a really touching moment,” she said. “I only said ‘Father, I love you and I pray for you everyday.’”

Over at Five Holy Martyrs church in the Brighton Park, Father Wojciech Baryski, a pastor there, said an oak tree with be planted in the church’s courtyard.

“This tree will grow with the parish,” Baryski said.

Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass at the church in 1979.

Other Chicagoans, like Larry Kallembach, will actually be traveling to Rome to celebrate the beatification with millions of others who are likely to be in attendance.

Kallembach converted to Catholicism just last weekend, and says the chance to go to Rome for such an important event is just the “icing on the cake.”

“To have the opportunity to go and see this kind of occasion, it’s once in a lifetime.”