A mass was held at the Cathedral of St. Peter's in Rockford. The head of the Rockford Diocese, Bishop Thomas Doran, led the mass to pray for the soul of the holy father.
Bishop Doran says, “The Pope led the life of a pastor for 26 years, and he's tired, so he's going home."
Pews at St. Peter's Cathedral quickly filled as Catholics gathered for a memorial mass led by Bishop Thomas Doran. Doran thinks Pope John Paul II deserves the title of a "great."
Bishop Doran met the Pope, as did another member of Rockford's Diocese, Dr. Owen Phelps.
Phelps says, “He looked at me and he saw I had cameras and he says you're a journalist? You’re American? It was a very warm moment.”
Phelps remembers the pope as a selfless man who gave his life to God. He also recalls the energy and humor the pontiff brought to the church which was celebrated by young people around the world.
Seventeen-year-old Kelsie Christopheison says, “He is such a wonderful guy. He's done so much for the youth and is an inspiration to my life."
As his health faded, John Paul shared his suffering with the world but told those around his bedside he was happy and they should also be happy.
Bishop Doran says, “This is a man who taught us how to live but taught us how to die as well."
Sunday Catholic churches across the stateline will hold mass for the Sunday Feast of Divine Mercy. Pope John Paul said it was his destiny to bring an era of divine mercy into the world.