Pope John Paul II dies

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 4, 2005

Pope John Paul II, the Polish pontiff who led the Roman Catholic Church for more than a quarter century and became history’s most-traveled pope, died Saturday afternoon.

In the waning hours of the 84-year-old pope’s life, Catholics in Suffolk joined millions around the globe in remembering the impact the ailing pontiff has had on the world.

The pope, in grave condition most of Saturday in his Vatican City apartment, died around 2:35 EST in his Vatican City apartment. The pope was fevered and repeatedly passing in and out of consciousness after treatment for a urinary tract infection led to heart and kidney failure overnight Friday.

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Catholics around the world will begin a traditional nine-day mourning process.

As of late Saturday, the black cloths of mourning draped over the doors of St. Mary’s Catholic Church all day had been changed to white, &uot;the color of resurrection,&uot; explained Father Lou Ruoff, priest at St. Mary’s.

The congregation at St. Mary’s will mourn the pope during a special service Wednesday night.

As many are grieving the death of Pope John Paul, Ruoff said he believes that the pope has gone through a &uot;new birth.&uot;

&uot;Death is a natural part of life,&uot; said Ruoff. &uot;He’s been here for 26 years. He was remarkable but I thing there will be another person to lead the church further its mission.

Ruoff said he will remember Pope John Paul II-the first non-Italian pontiff in more than 500 years-for his strong stance on social and political issues: the war, euthanasia, abortion and the death sentence.

Catholic or not, the entire world is missing the pope today, said Michael Kestner, a photographer and member of St Mary’s.

&uot;He is probably the most influential person in the world today,&uot; said Kestner.