A massive crowd -- with the majority consisting of young people -- sang, prayed and celebrated as they waited for Sunday's beatification.
Beatificationis a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name (intercession of saints). Beatification is third of four steps toward sainthood. A person who is beatified is given the title Blessed.
The beatification is happening despite a consistent drumbeat of criticism regarding the record-fast speed with which John Paul is being honored, and continued outrage about the clerical abuse scandal: Many of the crimes and cover-ups of priests who raped children occurred on John Paul's 27-year watch.
On Sunday May 1 in Saint Peter's Square in Vatican City, the Catholic Church will have a Beatification ceremony for Pope John Paul II.
YouTube will provide a live stream starting at 1:00 a.m. ET