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DALLAS -- On this Good Friday, Father Edward Traczyk celebrates Mass at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in downtown Dallas.

A predominantly Polish congregation, these parishioners have even more reason to celebrate this Easter season.

Father Edward is a proud Pole, just like Pope John Paul II who will be canonized on April 27. When the pope was archbishop of Krakow in the late 1960s, Father Edward remembers going to see him at Mass.

But the moment he will never forget happened in 1996.

'He was passing by to our aisle, and I was able to greet him in Polish, and he turned his head,' Traczyk said.

Father Edward was attending Mass at the Vatican and got close enough to speak to the pope in Polish.

'I touched his hand -- that was my closest time with him,' Father Edward said.

What did that feel like?

'Electricity flow.'

Halina Sanchook has her own connection to Pope John Paul II. It happened just a few days ago in a dream.

'He smiled at me and he said, 'Hallusha.' I told him this is what my mother used to call me when she was alive,' she said.

Sanchook is still not sure why, but she's certain the dream occurred for a special reason.

'I want to also follow his example,' she said. 'How to help other people. How to be open to everyone who are in need.'

As the world watches the canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII closely the Sunday after Easter, Father Edward and his parish will beam with pride that one of theirs is now a saint.

E-mail cizaguirre@wfaa.com

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