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Pope praises Polish predecessor

VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Benedict XVI has praised his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, as a model for the Polish people on the first anniversary of his beatification.

Benedict made his remarks in Polish during his weekly public audience Wednesday, saying “may the witness of his life, his teaching and his love for the homeland remain your particular heritage.”

A string ensemble played the Polish national anthem for Polish pilgrims celebrating several holidays this week.

The beatification of Pope John Paul 11 on May 1, 2011, was the fastest in modern history, coming six years after John Paul’s 2005 funeral drew calls of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Immediately!”

The Vatican must approve a second miracle attributed to John Paul before he can be declared a saint.

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