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Read what mourners around the world have to say about the late Pope John Paul II 
John Paul II

(CNN) -- asked its readers to share their thoughts about the death of Pope John Paul II. Here is a sampling from thousands of responses, some of which have been edited:

He was our father, not only "holy father" but a real father who taught us, led us and rebuked us. That is why so many of us came to Rome for his funeral. I hope his words will continue to change the world.
Andrzej Piotrowski; Lodz, Poland

I will never forget his urging for peace in the Balkans. I was touched by his love for Serbian Orthodox and Catholics to live together and consider themselves as brothers and sisters. I hope his messages for peace will teach us to value this gift from God and cherish it with our hearts and our minds.
Marko; Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro

I'm so saddened by the death of Pope John Paul II. As a Turkish woman, I'll always remember with sadness and shame that a Turk [attempted to] assassinate Pope John Paul II years ago. Pope John Paul II was a real humanist who believed [in] the peace and love between all humans. He was a respected and honored person. May he rest in peace.
Sevgi Limon; Istanbul, Turkey

I saw you on February 20, 2005, in St. Peter's Square and had your blessings. I consider myself to be very lucky to be able to [have] heard your own voice and your own words. Although I do not understand Italian, it was obvious that you loved us. God loves you. We love you. Rest in peace.
Zeynep Karakurt Ozman; London, England

Pope John Paul II was a great man ... a holy man. It is amazing how he was respected by millions of all faiths. No other pope will be as special as him, and I hope that he will be beatified and made a saint in the near future. He did a lot for the world, and we should all be grateful for having him as leader of the church.
Roberta Briffa; Iklin, Malta

I have been blessed to have been one of those who paid respects to the pope. I have never, ever felt like this. I do not know words enough, not even in my own language, to be able to describe the emotions and strong feelings. It is a loss for sure, but I feel it is much more than just a simple loss for someone I respect and admire. I will keep those emotions and treasure all of them in my heart. The six hours I have been waiting in line to be able to say goodbye to him is something I would do again, because if we all today are living in a better environment, [it] is because [of] him, his strong beliefs and principles.
Daniele Fracasso; Rome, Italy

Last Saturday we lost a father, a shepherd, a guide and, most importantly, we lost a friend. Accurate were the words pronounced Monday morning in Vatican City about him: John Paul II "the Great." Throughout his life he was a great inspirer to millions and a great example for the young who he loved so dearly. A great communicator and a great teacher. A great warrior of life and a great defender of the poor, the ill and the needed. A great friend to other religions and a great believer in bringing nations together. In all, a great man and servant of God who always spoke faith, love and peace. He leaves us with a sense of mixed feelings: sadness and happiness. The sadness that surrounds his final departure and to know that we will never see him or his smile again. The happiness to know that he is already with God and praying for all of us. We had the honor and privilege of knowing a real saint who walked among us and shared our time on this Earth.
P.C.G.; Barcelona, Spain

For me, Pope John Paul II was like a real father who I have never had. This is a mourning time for Polish people because our greatest countryman has gone to heaven. I miss him very much ... but I know that he is still with us. He is in our hearts and minds for ever.

Anna Stefanowski-Strzodka; Opole, Poland

I have to send this thought I have of Pope John Paul II. It is when this great man came to Ireland in 1979. I was in Galway to see him. It was full with all young people, and this man who set foot in our country for the first time got up in front of all of us young (and not so young) and said to us, "Young people of Ireland, I love you." And I just want to say, Pope John Paul, we all love you and will never forget you. God Bless you and may you rest in peace. You were God on Earth to us all, and it will never be the same without you here.
Kevin Ryan; Athlone, Ireland

In my opinion, he is one of the most influential men in the 21st century, if not the most influential. His work to help the poor people and his effort to make the world a peaceful place are really remarkable. I am not Catholic, but I admire him very much for the work he did. I don't think there will another pope like him -- another one that could do all the things he did. The world will really miss him.
Raul Rengifo; Madrid, Spain

He was ... the one who's shown that being good can be popular, can bring respect in this bad, cruel world. He was a great example of no matter what you get, it matters what you give. I hope we learned to say no to evil and yes to good. He gave us -- the Polish -- hope. And we won't let him down; we won't waste it. And we hope that the rest of the world understands what he wanted to say to us. I think it's time for love, it's time to unite.
Carol; Wroclaw, Poland

The magnificent leadership of Pope John Paul II was visible everywhere. In my country it was felt in every heart. Karol Wojtyla was not only a religious and moral leader, but also a revolutionary with the courage to break all the patterns that would make humans prisoners.
Maria Ocampo; Bonn, Germany

I met Pope John Paul II as part of a large crowd when I was a young child in London. I will never forget that experience. He was and will always be one of the biggest influences of my life, who gave me courage and the conviction to live out my life and my faith. I feel as if a member of my family has died. He could bring everyone together, no matter who they were. He truly is a saint.
Sarah Hopp; London, England

As a very lapsed Roman Catholic, I am in grief because the world has lost a wonderful human being. As I look at your images from St. Peter's Square, I am moved to tears. I believe this was the "special power" this man had -- and is still having. Look at the throngs of people who are there at the moment. I wish I was one of them.
Johnny Good; Seville, Spain

I strongly believe the collapse of the communist bloc was initiated by his activities. I still can remember his visits in Poland during [the] communist regime. He showed us the way of freedom in difficult times when nobody dreamed about the fall of the Berlin Wall. I can't stop thinking about his death and still have pictures in my mind -- pictures of my childhood -- Masses with the pope who gave hope to millions of my countrymen in hopeless times.
Radoslaw Rogacki; Warsaw, Poland

John Paul the Great, your influential words shook the structures of the modern world. Not only were you the pope, you were a great person, one who I feel was right in the heart of the action but also in the hearts of the people, no matter the religion. We will miss and love you always, Papa.
James; Belfast, Northern Ireland

I have never felt such admiration for anyone in my whole life as much as I admired Pope John Paul II. For the first time in the history of the papacy, we have a pope who preached for justice and peace with such intensity that it heralded a major shift in the course of our contemporary history -- that even toppled godless governments. He broke boundaries and crossed borders, not to invade countries but to bring a message of hope, peace, justice and love to Jews, Muslims, Hindus and even atheists. He is loved by everyone, Catholics or non-Catholics, Christians or non-Christians. Even in his last days and during the days of his wake, his encompassing spirit, which fueled more than a billion souls for the past 26 years, has continued to send a message to all of humanity: that world peace is achievable, that cultural unity is possible and social justice is attainable if we devote ourselves to it.
Gelan Sanchez Talledo; Rome, Italy

I am from Romania, an Orthodox country, which was the first Orthodox country visited by a pope, in 1999. He put love first, above differences, and he told us about things which connect us. Because of that, I thank him.
Ana Maria; Bucharest, Romania

The pope could be dead, but I am sure he still lives inside of us. He is the great pope, friend of the children and of the adults against wars and cruelty. I hope that the great pope has met God and Jesus and Mary and everyone he never met in his life and that he will be happy for all his life. The pope is cool!
Andrea, a 6-year-old first-grader, as submitted by Franca Serrau; Cagliari, Italy

I have never seen someone so well appreciated and loved by all the peoples of the world and remarkably by the leaders of different religious denominations. Critics will always be active, but they can never destroy the great qualities of Pope John Paul II, which depict forgiveness, empathy to universal suffering, open communication with other religious beliefs and most of all, love of humankind regardless of race, color and creed. His death showed us that love is truly universal. He is really John Paul the Great. Let us pray and thank him for having prayed for us.
Winnie Nicolas; Geneva, Switzerland

Pope John Paul II was a great man. I was four months' pregnant with my son when my husband and I braved the 4 million-strong crowd in Manila [Philippines] to see him. To this day I feel our family is especially blessed for having been part of that collective audience and blessing. Holiness is so rare, but when present, all pervasive. Regardless of the shape of his doctrines, his spirit was one of goodness, and the world seems suddenly less whole and less secure without him.
Gina McAdam; London, England

For me, Karol Wojtyla will always be the one and only pontiff in the world. He was and will be my guide for rest of my days.
Michal Roguski; Czestochowa, Poland

The world has lost the greatest pope and man to ever live, and I am very proud and grateful that Pope John Paul II served the world in my life. I will never forget him, and I am grateful to have seen the pope in 1979 when he visited Ireland.
Kevin Ryan; Athlone, Ireland

Well, to be honest, I am an atheist. And yet despite this, I feel that John Paul II was an extraordinary figure, indeed a "champion of peace and freedom." Somehow the world will not be the same, as he was to many a moral authority -- one that even nonbelievers could count on. His actions to promote peaceful conflict solutions in South America and the Middle East are a perfect example of the latter. My condolences to those of Catholic faith.
Adam S.; Stockholm, Sweden

John Paul II was more to me than a pope. He was the greatest son of my land, Polish land. He told us about freedom, faith and morality. He has shown us the way that we walk ever since -- the way to love and respect for all the nations, religions and points of view. He made us believe that the church is the people -- and freedom is the gift of God to every human being, and it can never be taken away from us anymore. And we are all grateful for that gift of wisdom that he gave us.
M. Rabel; Warsaw, Poland

In this turbulent time when the demarcation line between morality and immorality is so thin, this pope's presence takes a greater meaning and importance. But now that he's gone, it is hard to find someone who mustered all the traits like John Paul II. The only hope we have is to pray for his successor to be half as good as this pope was.
John Elkass; Athens, Greece

I will always remember John Paul II for the moment when -- during his first visit to Poland in 1979 -- I experienced the feeling of freedom for the first time in my life. I was going down the street to the papal Mass for the youth, held in front of the Academic Church in the Old Town section of Warsaw. It was early in the morning, and first people started to appear in the streets, and one by one they began to step down from sidewalks to take over the streets to themselves, growing crowds of people going against the early morning traffic in then-communist Poland. That was the first moment that I had ever felt freedom and the power to claim my right to pursue freedom.
Tomasz Jurewicz; Warsaw, Poland

I had the luck in 1987 to shake the pope's hand during an audience. It was a great moment. John Paul II was and still is a great soul with a loving heart and spirit. May he rest in our hearts as one of the most precious human beings forever. May young and old take him as an example and follow his words, because his words were just, honest and true.
Myriam; Luxembourg

I am not a religious person, but mankind has to be thankful for such a person that brought his holiness and wisdom to us. His death will keep a memory of good and righteousness for this world of uncertainty. May he rest in peace, and the world shall rejoice in his being.
Mechille Stoof; Woerden, Netherlands

My heart is bleeding for the departure of our pope. He was a brave man who held firmly the principles of Christian religion and fought with all his soul and all his body against death and war.
Michele; Piacenza, Italy

Polish poet and priest Jan Twardowski wrote: "Hurry to love people, they go away so quickly." For me, Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla, was a man who was explaining this sentence to the whole world with all his life. I, friends of mine, almost every person asked here in Poland, we all feel like orphans. Seems like we have all lost a close family member. Rest in peace, father.
Andrzej Browarski; Opole, Poland

I am a Muslim, but still I have had a high regard to the moral and religious values as projected by the pope in his 26-year papacy and also an admirer to his teachings of liberalism and maintaining of human dignity in the eyes of every human being, as all are equal under the divine principles.
Rizwan; Southampton, England

I admire his charisma, his unshakeable stand in what he believed. He certainly made a lot of impact on respect for human dignity, freedom and religious tolerance all around the world as well as made a case for the poor. Adieu, papa.
Nnah Kay; Bucharest, Romania

Let him rest in peace. He was a great man, he has made so much for the whole world. Without him, my country wouldn't be democratic. It is a great loss for Poland and the world. For me, he was the greatest Pole in history.
Varin; Szczecin, Poland

I think in the coming future he will be declared a saint. He was not a pope of the Vatican but of all the world. I feel proud that in 1999 I was chosen as an altar boy with other 19 altar boys from Malta to go to serve a summer in St. Peter's Basilica. ... In 1999, he was already weak ... but was a man of great courage.
Nicholas Schemri; Malta

I met him 15 years ago and can honestly say it still lives with me as one of the most significant moments in my short life. A truly great man who will be sorely missed. RIP.
Andrew Marshall; Glasgow, Scotland

Even though I am not Catholic, I am crying for the loss of the pope. How one man can be loved by all, whatever race or religion, is a miracle in itself.
Susan Bellini; Florence, Italy

The Holy Father's two visits to this country were highlights in the lives of Catholics and many non-Catholics alike. I shall never forget his braving the snow and cold during the outdoor Mass held in Sarajevo in 1997. His intrepidity and tenacity are unique and his work and legacy timeless.
Ksenija Kondali; Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

As both an atheist and a liberal, I would be hard pressed to come up with many things on which I could agree with the pope and many of his pronouncements I found downright offensive. But he was a man of peace, a man who loved all humans and a man of conviction, and that must always be respected and honored.
Christopher Hughey; Paris, France

I lost my faith in Christianity some time ago. But I really admire a man like John Paul II. Over his 26 years, he has done so many things for the people of the world. And as long as the world remembers him, he will never die. Thank you Karol Josef Wojtyla.
Vida Norbert; Budapest, Hungary

When you saw him, you thought he wanted to tell you that he loves you. He had enough love for all the world. The pope has made me who I am and changed my entire life. He has shown the world the dignity of life and that, no matter what, it is forever sacred. Only in this way can we stop our turning into a culture of death. I hope he rests in eternal peace with God. And I hope that whenever we look at the sky, his warmth, love and wisdom will guide our hearts through the night.
Evelina Sernaite; Vilnius, Lithuania

I did not agree with many of John Paul II's ideas, probably because I am not a Catholic or even a Christian. However, no one can deny the immense force for good that this man has had in the last three decades. Whether or not he was in the right, the deceased pope always acted out of the conviction that he was doing God's will, and more importantly he always acted.
Andy Campbell; Rome, Italy

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