Poles gather to watch John Paul II's beatification

Thousands of people are flowing into a major sanctuary in southern Poland and other places across the country to watch the beatification ceremony of their beloved countryman, Pope John Paul II.

Sunday's ceremony at the Vatican is being broadcast live on large TV screens at several places in Poland, including the Sanctuary of God's Mercy in the Lagiewniki district of Krakow and the main squares in Warsaw and in Wadowice, where the pontiff was born in 1920 as Karol Wojtyla.

More than 100,000 believers are expected in Lagiewniki alone. Early Sunday people were arriving, despite the damp, cold weather, and filling the sanctuary's church and meadows.

The beatification opens the way for sainthood. But many in this predominantly Catholic nation already consider John Paul II a saint.