NEW ORLEANS -- In the first-ever Mass celebrated with a reigning pope and retired pope, Pope Francis declared Pope John Paul II and John XXIII saints in front of thousands in St. Peter Square on Sunday.
The dual canonization is resonating with many local Catholics, especially because of the city's connection to Pope John Paul II.
Pope John Paul II visited New Orleans in 1987. Former WWL-TV News Director Phil Johnson profiled his life before the visit.
"John Paul was a very special man, who not only with words tried to guide us and show us how to live but mainly by his actions," said New Orleans resident Shirley Dupre.
Aymond said the news should bring a sense of pride to New Orleanians, as John Paul II is the first and only pope to visit the Crescent City.
"We can say in New Orleans that a saint visited us, that he was certainly the pope, the shepherd of the church during that time," said Archbishop Gregory Aymond.
"John Paul when he was here you could see God and the goodness in him," said one onlooker near the St. Louis Cathedral. "So it's not a surprise that he was canonized."