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ROME New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond expressed his excitement for Pope Francis' announcement that Pope John Paul II will receive sainthood within a statement while visiting Rome Friday.

'It is with great excitement we received the news that Blessed John Paul II will be canonized this year. I am in Rome and there is much excitement here. Blessed John Paul II was a man of great faith and was an inspiration to Catholics and people of all faiths throughout the world,' Aymond said.

Aymond said the city shares a special connection to John Paul II since he visited New Orleans in 1987. (*Note: The above video is Mike Hoss' look back at Pope John Paul II's visit to New Orleans in 1987.)

'I am grateful to have been able to experience that visit and to have, in a special way, commemorated it this year in cooperation with NOMA through the exhibit 'Portrait of Faith: John Paul II in Life and Art,' said Aymond in his statement.

Pope Francis decided to clear John Paul II for sainthood after approving a miracle attributed to his intercession. The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the miracle that brought John Paul to the ranks of sainthood concerned a Costa Rican woman.

Aymond said John Paul II was an inspiration to Catholics and people of all faiths throughout the world. Currently in Rome, the Archbishop said John Paul II's spirit and legacy of evangelization will remain with the church and impact generations to come.

The Vatican reports that the ceremonies are expected before the end of the year.

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