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Pope spends morning with Poles in tribute to John Paul, a prelude to 2016 trip to Poland

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Pope Francis is greeted by faithful as he leaves St.Stanislaw church in Rome, Sunday, May 4, 2014. Pope Francis celebrated a mass for the Polish community in honor of newly sainted Pope John Paul II. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis spent his morning with Poles who live in Rome, in tribute to St. John Paul II, and says he's looking forward to traveling to Poland.

Francis on Sunday visited St. Stanislaus Church, which serves Rome's Polish community and where John Paul prayed more than 80 times. Francis quipped that his own visit to the church was "the first leg of my trip to Poland." He is expected to go to Krakow in 2016 for a church youth jamboree.

He said of John Paul: "In moments of sadness and discouragement, when everything seemed lost, he didn't lose hope" because of his rock-solid faith. Francis noted that Polish people have suffered much in their history.

Last week, Francis proclaimed John Paul and another pope, John XXIII, as saints.