Officials at the Vatican announced today that Pope John Paul II, one of the most beloved popes in memory, could become a saint in the Catholic Church before the end of this year.
That holds a special importance to one man from our area.
Dunmore Attorney Joe DeAndrea an his wife were married in Italy in 2001 and met with then Pope John Paul II. A few years later the DeAndrea's children met the beloved pope. John Paul II died not too long after.
DeAndrea and his family grew up during John Paul II's papacy, he went through dozens of photos in his law office in Dunmore remembering all the times the two had met.
"It's beautiful, you leave with such emotion, it's really a situation that you can't really describe. I was there with my parents and my family and it was really a beautiful thing," DeAndrea said.
DeAndrea's father was longtime friends with Jerzy Kluger from Poland, one of the pope's best friends. That's how the DeAndrea family had access to Pope John Paul II so many times. The last time, taking DeAndrea's children to the Papal residence.
DeAndrea said by the time his daughter is retelling that story to the next generation, he'll be referred to as "Saint John Paul". Something DeAndrea said he always felt would happen but is still very surreal.
"It's a really joyous day, he was wonderful, his presence was unbelievable it's almost hard to describe," DeAndrea added.
Vatican officials said Pope John Paul II passed the last step required to be elevated to sainthood in the Catholic Church. Now all that's needed is Pope Francis' final approval. Then John Paul will be formally canonized.
That could happen before the end of this year.