CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Father David Hulshof with St. Vincent's in Cape Girardeau, Missouri studied in Rome when Pope John Paul II was in head of the Catholic Church.
"John Paul the second is the most traveled pope in all of history by a long shot," Hulfshof said. "He traveled to 129 different countries."
He said at every place he went, John Paul would kiss the ground to symbolize that he was part of the community. He learned from and served with Pope John Paul II on several occasions.
"He was also a great leader," Fr. Dave said. "When you were with him, he just raised you up. You felt like I could do this too."
Southeast Missouri State Professor and Catholic priest Father Patrick Nwokwoye said the process of becoming a saint is a big deal, even to non-Catholics.
"Right now, the news from Rome is saying there will be upward of 2 million people or 3 million people," Fr. Patrick said.
He expects that group to include Catholics as well as people of other religious beliefs.
"So I can imagine what this will feel like," Fr. Patrick said. "Many people that have actually known John Paul the second are traveling to Rome and many of them are not Catholic."
Fr. Dave, who will be among those in Rome for the ceremony, said he's not sure what to expect.
"This will be the biggest crowd I've ever seen at St. Peter's by far," Fr. Dave said. "I've seen large crowds, half a million people, which is an amazing crowd. This will far surpass that. The city of Rome host large gatherings but this will be one of the largest in its history by far."