AS THE world spotlight falls on Rome for the funeral of the Pope on Friday, Hyndburn's Catholics have been paying their own special tributes to the Pontiff.
A series of special masses have been held in Catholic churches across the borough in honour of Pope John Paul II who died last Saturday.
- Special masses have been held at St Mary's Church, Clayton-le-Moors, throughout the week and a service was held at St Mary's School on Thursday for parents, staff and pupils.
- St Mary's Church, Oswaldtwistle, held a mass on Wednesday evening and a funeral mass will be held at St Charles' RC Church, Rishton, at 7.30pm on Friday evening.
- St Joseph's RC Church, Belgarth Road, Accrington, held a special mass at 8am on Wednesday.
- A joint service was held for the parishes of St Hubert's and St Wulstan's, Great Harwood, at St Hubert's on Monday.
The area's Anglicans have also paid tribute and the Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev Nicholas Reade, sent a message of sympathy to Roman Catholic leaders in the North West.
In a letter to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool and his episcopal colleagues in the Diocese of Salford and Lancaster, Bishop Nicholas said he will encourage Anglicans across Lancashire to remember "The Pope for all Christians" in their prayers.
The Bishop said he celebrated a Memorial Eucharist for the Pope in the chapel and the Blackburn Diocese will remember the life and work of the Pope during an Evensong for the Departed, in which Roman Catholic representatives are invited to take part, in Blackburn Cathedral on Sunday at 4pm.
Hyndburn MP Greg Pope, a Roman Catholic, travelled to London for a memorial service at Westminster Cathedral, which was also attended by Tony Blair and Prince Charles.
Mr Pope said: "I am sure that Pope John Paul II will go down in history as one of the great Popes. All Catholics, and many other people who are not Catholic, will mourn his passing and also celebrate his remarkable contribution to the world."
Pope John Paul II was the most widely-travelled Pontiff and visited more than 120 countries during his 26-year Papacy.
Former Hyndburn councillor Cathleen Thom this week looked back at his 1982 visit to Heaton Park, Manchester.
She was one of hundreds of people from the borough to make the trip to see him.
She said: "I went with my late husband Allan and my sister. We set off from St Mary's Church, Clayton-le-Moors, on an Accrington Corporation bus. We parked along the motorway and then we walked to Heaton Park in the early hours of the morning.
"It was beautiful and one of the most memorable days of my life. After the mass the Pope came in his Popemobile through the crowds and he was so close to us it was unbelievable. He was like a ray of sunlight."
Hyndburn's Tory General Election candidate, Mr James Mawdsley, has a lot to thank Pope John Paul II for.
When he was imprisoned in Burma for campaigning for human rights the Pope wrote to the Chinese Government to get it to put pressure on the Burmese government for his release.
Mr Mawdsley first met the Pontiff four years ago to say thank-you and met him again in January with his wife Elizabeth during their honeymoon.
Mr Mawdsley said the Pope had attracted the attention of young people because he spoke out for what he believed in.
More than two million people, as well as leaders from across the globe including United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, Prince Charles and Tony Blair, are expected to flock to Rome for the Pope's funeral on Friday.