.- Catholic Church leaders in Washington state are hoping that the recent surge in church attendance, related to the death of Pope John Paul II, will create a renewed interest in religion among lapsed Catholics.
John Paul's passing "will have impacts that will go far beyond the day of his death or the day of his funeral," Greg Magnoni, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Seattle, told The Associated Press.
The number of people visiting St. James Cathedral in Seattle since the Pope’s death has been staggering, much more than its 5,000 registered parishioners. In addition, countless numbers have left notes, prayers and recollections in the Book of Intentions, which has been in place inside the cathedral since the pope's death.
Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral in Spokane also saw its numbers at daily and weekday masses more than double in the last week, from 670 to 1,400.
Deacon Gonzalo Martinez told the AP that he believes the soaring numbers aren't just a passing phase.
"I think his living and passing has reminded us that we can live according to our beliefs, our morals and our principles," he was quoted as saying. "I think because of the stature he held internationally as a moral and spiritual leader, it could have a lasting effect."