Catholics are rushing out to buy DVDs on the life of Pope John Paul II ahead of the late pontiff’s beatification on May 1 by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome. Many people in Sri Lanka remember John Paul as a result of his visit to the country in January 1995, where he beatified the “Apostle of Sri Lanka,” Father Joseph Vaz at a special ceremony in Colombo. There’s been a huge demand for the DVD, "Blessed on the Powerful True Story," when it first came out eight months ago, said Pinnelawattege Winifreeda Iranganie, a salesgirl at the Catholic Bookshop in Colombo. "We only have two DVDs left,” she said. "People keep coming and asking for DVDs on the late Pope and we have sold a lot so far. There are only five DVDs left," said Dilantha Gunaratne who runs a shop outside the Archbishop's House in Colombo. Most Sri Lankans are happy knowing a pope who visited Sri Lanka is being beatified, according to Father Priyantha Silva, Colombo’s archdiocesan consultant for ecclesial art and architecture. “I still have the white cloth which was used to cover the altar on the stage. It is very valuable now because it has been touched by a future saint,” Fr. Silva said. Father Sriyananda Fernando, parish priest of Grand Street church in Negombo, north of Colombo, recalled a meeting he had with John Paul. "He was a man of simple tastes and spoke only a few words. He was very pious and the words he spoke when I met him were very touching," he said. Sunimal Fernando, a catechist said, he had the privilege of meeting John Paul when he held a Mass in Colombo. "We welcome the announcement of his beatification with great happiness. It will be an important occasion, because he always set an example with his spiritual life," said Fernando. John Paul II was Pope for nearly 27 years when he died in 2005. The Vatican credits him with the cure of Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, a French nun said to have had Parkinson's disease. Church-appointed doctors agree that there is no medical explanation for the curing of the nun.
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