Pope Francis has hailed Pope John Paul II's legacy on the ninth anniversary of the Polish-born pontiff's death.
A crowd of tens of thousands of tourists and pilgrims, including some from Poland, applauded when Francis recalled during his weekly Wednesday public audience in St. Peter's Square that John Paul died on April 2, 2005 — and will soon be made a saint.
Francis: Who Is Pope Francis? Book Reveals the Man
Francis will lead the sainthood ceremony on April 27 in the square for both John Paul and Pope John XXIII. Francis urged the faithful to prepare for the event by "rekindling the legacy of faith that John Paul left behind." He added that the long-ailing John Paul, who led the church from 1978 until 2005, "even accomplished good with his suffering."
© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.