AUGUSTA – Members of Maine’s House passed a nonbinding resolution honoring Pope John Paul II.

The resolution was passed Thursday, and will be on the Senate calendar for consideration on Tuesday.

The resolution recalls the pope’s May 18, 1920, birth in Poland, how he was called to the priesthood and his rise in the church, and how he was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. The document recognizes that Pope John Paul II was the spiritual leader of more than a billion Catholics worldwide, a widely traveled leader, and was one of the most respected figures of his time.

“He exercised great influence throughout the world as a leading voice against poverty and for freedom, human dignity, democratic development and human rights, and is credited with helping pave the way for the end of communism in his native land and across the Soviet bloc,” the resolution reads.

The resolution was proposed by House Speaker John Richardson, D-Brunswick, and several other legislators, including Rep. Richard Cebra, R-Naples; Rep. John Patrick, D-Rumford; and Sen. John Nutting, D-Leeds. After it is considered in the Senate, the resolution will be given to Bishop Richard Malone, head of the Catholic diocese in Maine.

On April 3, the day after the pope died, Gov. John Baldacci ordered that flags throughout Maine be flown at half staff through April 8 in the pope’s memory.

– Bonnie Washuk

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