By Hada Messia
(CNN) — The Roman Catholic Church will declare the late Pope John Paul II a saint, the Vatican announced Friday.
Pope Francis signed the decree Friday morning, the Vatican said. John Paul was pope from 1978 until his death in 2005, and was essentially the first rock star pontiff – drawing vast crowds as he criss-crossed the globe.
At his funeral, thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square chanted “Santo Subito” — Sainthood Now! The Polish-born pope was fast-tracked to beatification when he died in 2005, and became “the blessed” John Paul II barely six years after his death — the fastest beatification in centuries.
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