Local Roman Catholics recalled a pope who loved people as well as God on Friday as the pontiff’s health rapidly declined. . .
“I was within 30 feet of him,” Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church Deacon Dick Karl recalled of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Dodger Stadium on Sept. 16, 1987. “There was a sense of love coming out of him.”
Karl said he was a busy young father in 1978 when John Paul II was elected pope, so he doesn’t have many memories of the selection process. But he does have deep admiration for the Polish man who led the church for the past 26 years.
“I think (John Paul II) had a genuine interest in people, and he reached out to everyone,” Karl said. “I am slightly in awe of his ability to speak so many languages since I struggle with three.”
The pope has touched the hearts of many Catholics and non-Catholics alike, traveling to more than 60 nations and touring the United States several times.
Members of the three Catholic Churches in the Santa Clarita Valley held traditional First Friday Masses with special prayers for the 84-year-old pontiff, the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.
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