BRASILIA, Brazil — A small parish in the poor neighborhood of Alagados in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, has become the first in the world to be named after St. John Paul II, after the pope’s canonization April 27.
Sara Gomes, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Salvador, told Agence France-Presse that the “small church of Notre Dame of Alagados will now be called Notre Dame of Alagados and of St. John Paul II. It is the first in the world to be named after the new saint.”
The official name change took place the morning of April 27, after Mass at the parish. Pope John Paul II was declared a saint alongside Pope John XXIII at a Vatican Mass earlier that day.
Archbishop Murilo Krieger signed a decree authorizing the new title for the parish, which was inaugurated in 1980 by John Paul II during the first of three trips he made to Brazil.
Capuchin Father Jorge Rocha recalled meeting St. John Paul II at the parish three decades ago.
“The saints live among us,” he told the Globo website. “The Church does not invent them; she recognizes what already exists.”