VATICAN CITY – Pope John Paul II, who led the Roman Catholic Church for more than a quarter century and became history’s most-traveled pope, died on Saturday evening, the Vatican said in a statement.
“We all feel like orphans tonight but our faith teaches us that those who believe in the Lord live in him,” Archbishop Renato Boccardo told a crowd estimated at St. Peter’s.
The news was immediately announced to around 60,000 gathered in St Peter’s Square.
"Our Holy Father John Paul, 84, has returned to the house of the Father," Archbishop Leonardo Sandri told the crowds.
Bells and tears
The statement was met with a long applause, an Italian sign of respect. Bells tolled and many people wept openly. Others sang the “Ave Maria” and other hymns.
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