Time.com presents a retrospective of the late Italian photographer Gianni Giansanti, who spent 30 years covering the Vatican and chronicled the life and death of Pope John Paul II. Launch the gallery at Time.com
Former Pope John Paul II will be beatified Sunday, but not without some controversy, as CNN's Jim Bittermann reports.
From Hada Messia, CNN
Rome (CNN) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe arrived in Rome for the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II, airport officials said Saturday, despite his EU-wide travel ban for alleged human rights abuses.
The Vatican did not personally invite Mugabe to the Sunday event, said the Rev. Federico Lombardi of the Holy See Press office.
But a diplomatic relationship exists between Zimbabwe and the Vatican, a sovereign state that is not a member of the European Union.
Read the full story about Mugabe's visit
By Elizabeth Chmurak, CNN
(CNN) - Christopher Lukasik was building shelves when a metal rod hit his eye, tearing about a third of his optic nerve fibers and leaving everybody from his doctors to his family wondering whether he would ever see again.
Lukasik's mother began to pray to Pope John Paul II, who will be beatified Sunday. The ceremony at Vatican City is the penultimate step towards the late pontiff's sainthood.
"All I could think about is to pray to Pope John Paul II. I just felt him with me and I knew he would be the one that would heal my son," said 67-year-old Joanna Lukasik of Chicago, who grew up near the late pontiff's hometown of Wadowice, Poland. "I was driving to the hospital and I was begging him and crying and begging him to save his vision and that's what happened."
Doctors say he was lucky. Lukasik's mother says it was a miracle.
By Jim Bittermann, CNN
Rome, Italy (CNN) – I guess I could say I first met Pope John Paul II on October 16, 1978.
I wasn’t exactly alone with the pontiff. There were hundreds of thousands of others who also met him for the first time that night in St. Peter’s Square when he stepped out on the balcony as the newly elected pope.
And the story you may have heard is absolutely true: When they announced that Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla was the new pope, those of us in the press corps - especially those of us broadcasting live - went as white as his robe. Few people ever put the cardinal on their papal short lists and fewer still could immediately understand the name announced over the Vatican’s crackly speaker system.
But we got to know John Paul - who will be beatified Sunday in Rome, the last step before sainthood - very quickly.
Pope John Paul II is said to have been seen in person by more people than any other figure on Earth. He was pope from his election in 1978 to his death in 2005 and traveled to all corners of the globe to meet people where they lived.
John Paul II will be beatified in Rome on Sunday, the last step before sainthood.
Did you ever see John Paul II in Rome or did he come to your hometown? What was it like to meet the pope? Share your comments with us below.
And you can also share photos and videos through CNN's iReport.
Your stories and images could be included in the beatification coverage on CNN’s Belief Blog.
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – Have you heard about the historic event this weekend that's drawing hundreds of thousands to one of Europe’s leading capitals for a long day of pageantry?
No, not Friday’s royal wedding in London. I’m referring to Sunday’s beatification of Pope John Paul II in Rome.
It’s hard to deny that international media coverage of William and Kate’s nuptials is overshadowing preparations for Sunday’s beatification, the last step before sainthood.
A spokesman for the BBC said he didn't know how many of its personnel will be on hand for Sunday’s beatification but estimated that 550 BBCers are covering Friday’s wedding festivities: "It's likely to be the most watched event of the century so far.”
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
Washington (CNN) - Egypt has been added to a list of countries named as the worst violators of religious freedom for the first time, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom announced Thursday in releasing its annual report.
"The Egyptian government engaged in and tolerated religious freedom violations before and after President Hosni Mubarak stepped down on February 11, 2001," the commissioners wrote in the report. They cited violence toward religious minorities in Egypt including Coptic Christians and non-majority Muslim groups.
"Since February 11, religious freedom conditions have not improved and attacks targeting religious minorities have continued," the report said.
(CNN) – More than a million people are expected in Rome this weekend for the beatification of Pope John Paul II, the biggest event in Vatican City since his death six years ago.
Hundreds of thousands of Catholic faithful will gather in St. Peter's Square to witness the ceremony, the penultimate step towards John Paul II's sainthood.
Read the full story on preparations for the beatification
By Jo Ling Kent, CNN
Beijing, China (CNN) – This calm denim-clad 28-year-old identifies herself only as Water, based on the Chinese characters that make up her first name. She has been deemed an enemy of the state, an unlikely label for a petite and well-educated woman who eschews violence and confrontation.
Here in China, Water is living her life in fear, under the close watch of the Chinese government for practicing Christianity at Beijing's underground Shouwang Church. She requested her Chinese name not be published for safety reasons.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.