VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis is remembering St. John Paul II as an admirable example of suffering on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Polish-born pontiff's death after a long struggle with Parkinson's disease.
Tourists and pilgrims applauded Francis' praise for John Paul during a public audience in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday.
John Paul, 84, passed away in his bedroom in the Apostolic Palace that overlooks the square on April 2, 2005, and was proclaimed a saint last year. A vigorous, athletic man when he was elected pope in 1978, the globe-trotting John Paul forged on even as Parkinson's disease diminished his strength and mobility in his final years.
Francis also encouraged sick people to "carry the cross of suffering with joy, as he has taught us."