Pope John Paul II memorial defaced by vandals before canonization

Pope John Paul II

A monument in Krakow, Poland honoring the late Pope John Paul II was covered in paint on April 23. The vandalism occurred just four days before the late Pope is to be canonized in Rome.

Krakow police blocked off the stone statue while city workers tried to remove the paint. The officers did not comment on whether the perpetrators have been identified, or if they have suspects in custody.

Pope John Paul II led the Roman Catholic Church for 27 years, from 1978-2005. He is credited with two miracles—curing a French nun of Parkinson's disease, and a Costa Rican woman of a brain aneurysm.

The late Pope John XXIII will also be canonized on Sunday, although he is only credited with one miracle. Pope Francis waived the second miracle requirement in order to secure Pope John's sainthood.

The canonization is being held on a day Catholics celebrate as the Second Sunday of Easter, also known as Divine Mercy Sunday, which is based on Saint Faustina Kowalska's diary entries. Saint Faustino wrote that if a person goes to confession beforehand, and takes communion on Divine Mercy Sunday, all of that person's sins will be forgiven. Pope John Paul II encouraged celebrating the festal day.

Millions of people are expected to descend upon Rome to witness the canonization. It will be the first time that two living popes will be present at the ceremony - Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict. In addition to the millions in attendance, there are expected to be over a dozen heads of state and two dozen prime ministers present for the momentous occasion.

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