Every pew was filled at in Lemont on Saturday evening for a Polish mass and procession in anticipation of Pope John Paul II's beatification in Rome.
With the ceremony in St. Peter’s Square completed early Sunday morning, the pope will be now be known as Blessed John Paul. Beatification is the last step before sainthood in the Catholic Church.
SS. Cyril and Methodius was a colorful scene Saturday as Poles known as Highlanders wore the costumes of their region in Poland. Hundreds of flower arrangements adorned the church.
Mass was led by Father Marcin Szczypula, a young priest from Poland who has been at the parish for three years.
After mass, uniformed Highlanders bearing flags led a slow procession of costumed children and adults, and parishioners to a grotto on the church grounds. Father Szczypula carried a glistening gold monstrance, the receptacle holding a consecrated host. Catholics believe the host is the body of Christ.
At the grotto overflowing with flowers, Father Szczypula led prayers and songs in front of a white-marble statue of Blessed John Paul II as he prays to Mary, the mother of Jesus. The strong voices of the crowd carried into the night. Afterward, the procession returned to the church.
A for the historic ceremony.