Future Saint John Paul II's 1987 Southland visit remembered

Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II

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When John Paul the Second came to California in September 1987, he did something a lot of people can’t: he sold out Dodger stadium, offering mass to 63,000 people.

Rebecca Sanchez of Arcadia was there, sitting in the nosebleed seats. As news spread Friday that he has been cleared for sainthood, Sanchez reminisced about that day.

“He was very charismatic, very caring for people," she said. "I almost feel the same thing for the new Pope. They’re more down to earth.”

Her most vivid memory is of the Pope giving communion to a group of handicapped Catholics.

Sanchez is elated that current Pope Francis fast-tracked John Paul the Second’s beatification.

She said she and other members of Annunciation Catholic Church in Arcadia have already been treating him like a saint.

“I’ve talked to him” she said, which some people might consider praying.

John Paul the Second became Pope 35 years ago this October.

The Vatican is reportedly organizing a ceremony in October or December marking his entry into sainthood.