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4.08.2005

Time to Crash the Party

Two hours after the lengthy funeral Mass, a ragtag crowd of Poles, in the thousands, replaced the rows of silent priests at the front end of St. Peter's Basilica, where they lobbied loudly and exuberantly for their man.

Dozens of huge flags from Poland, among them banners of the trade union Solidarity, fluttered in the breeze. Hung from fishing poles and broomsticks, each bore the scrawled name of a hometown: Bialystock, Wadowice, Zakopane. The crowd held hands and swayed as they sang the pope's favorite songs - some hymns but mostly patriotic folk ballads.

"We want the world to remember a great man and a great Pole," said Adam Zylberszteyn, a student from Warsaw. "For us he is already a saint, actually naming him one is just a formality." His friend, Adam Jankowski, added, "He must be made a saint - and soon - or we will crash the Vatican."

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