Your e-mails: North America
(CNN) -- CNN.com asked its readers to share their views on the death of Pope John Paul II, who died Saturday. Here is a sampling from thousands of responses, some of which have been edited:
An exceptional human being lived among us in the shape of his holiness, Pope John Paul II. May God help us to carry on his message of faith, freedom, peace and life. We will miss you dearly, our beloved papa. Rest in eternal peace.
Aida; Chesterfield, Virginia
The great John Paul II is the people's pope. He connected with young and old, poor and rich, believers and nonbelievers. He came to my country three times. I saw him those times for a fraction of time, and yet he filled my soul with God's presence. He is my pope and will be remembered as such. We are not alone for he will always live in our hearts and minds. Thank you John Paul II, the whole world loves you until eternity!
Jose F. Cano; Guatemala City, Guatemala
Pope John Paul II touched me when I most needed a new path in my life; made a miracle for me and my father, and for that reason I finally understood the meaning of the word "faith." I will always remember him, especially when he went to Cuba and as he was leaving the country turned to the crowd and said, "Do not be afraid. God will always be with you." For making me a true believer, I thank him. Now I am a true, devout Catholic, and would rather die than convert to any other religion.
Maria A. Scheer; Hialeah, Florida
May we all walk in the image of the Lord, as Pope John Paul II did throughout his life. God rest his soul.
Julie Serresseque; Naperville, Illinois
I saw and heard Pope John Paul only once in person nearly 25 years ago when I was a decidedly nonreligious, non-Catholic young man on a trip to Rome. The impression he made on me then remains. His passing, coming exactly one week after my confirmation as a Catholic, has affected me more deeply than I ever would have imagined. It has been like losing an old and dearly loved friend.
Brad; Kenton, Ohio
There is a great deal [to] admire about John Paul II. He showed the world an immense kindness, a fight for world peace and undying love for humanity. He will be remembered as one of the greatest men who walked this Earth, and all of us are very fortunate to have lived in his time. The world will miss the Polish pontiff, whose charismatic smile captured the love of the world.
Luis Abascal; Laredo, Texas
Although we have not met nor seen him in person, Pope John Paul II was instrumental in bringing my wife and I back to the Catholic Church four years ago, after a 30-year absence. The year 2000 was declared by him as the Jubilee Year, a "time for harvest and renewal" as he called it. That was the year we first set foot in the Catholic Church again and it was a most joyous and humbling experience! Although we were both born and raised Catholics, we drifted away like lost sheep. Pope John Paul was God's appointed shepherd who brought us back, lovingly and patiently. As far as we're concerned, he is one of the few living saints, the likes of Mother Teresa, who served as God's Light in this uncertain and troubled world. We found our refuge back in God's fold, thanks to the Holy Father, and we are forever grateful!
Venny Villapando; Honolulu, Hawaii
Outside of Catholic school in first grade, I know very little about Catholicism. I, however, feel that this man was a truly universal, humble, thoughtful, and caring person. They really selected the best pope for the job when they chose him. I want to cry and I'm not Catholic. You could be an atheist and still must admit what a wonderful guy he truly was. A perfect example of Christian. The fact that he tried to speak and worship with the people last Easter without being able to speak is way more than most religious leaders or governmental leaders would every try to do!!
Lori; Washington, D.C.
Pope John Paul II was a true disciple of Christ. He showed the world how to be loving to all God's people. He will forever live in the hearts of many.
Jo-Anne; Lynn, Massachusetts, United States
The pope inspired millions. I was one of those millions. I feel very lucky to have seen and be touched by this angelic man. I felt as [if] I was seeing God. I feel lucky to have seen the pope in person three times. The first time I saw the pope I was a child and made history because it was the first trip made after he became pope. The first time I saw the pope was in Guadalajara, Mexico in January 1979.
Arturo; Metaire, Louisiana, United States
Being of Polish descent, it is very hard to believe that John Paul II has died. He helped my country through rough times and wanted the people to have freedom and peace. ... He is the only pope I have ever known. My family grew up in Krakow, Poland, and lived on the same street as did the pope. Our popular pope was among his people even at the very end. ... He was a man of the world, he stood for peace, love and God. He will be a tough act to follow.
Jessica Koralus; Verbank, New York
Because I was born in 1978, Pope John Paul II is the only pope I have known. ... I can say that he has had a tremendous impact on my life. As a 17-year-old, I was privileged enough to travel to the Vatican. Although I never met him in person, his presence radiated throughout the entire place. You had a sense that everything was right with the world because he was there to protect us and lead us down the right path. I took that feeling home with me, and still have it today. I am like a lot of other young people in that although I didn't agree with all of his views, I still respected him for them. "Be not afraid" -- he repeated these words over and over -- not only vocally, but also through his actions. He showed the world that there is a common thread between religions (love one another) and that it is possible to have differences without going to war. Peace and forgiveness are much more powerful weapons against hatred!
Sarah McHugh; Ellington, Connecticut
My first impressions of the pope came in my first years of Catholic elementary school. Pope John Paul II was on a U.S. tour and members of my school and church traveled to see him. Our very old, very tiny first-grade teacher, Mrs. Fisher, told her story upon returning: Though she had been in the front row of worshippers, she was quickly pushed back by the crowds of people reaching out to touch the pope's hand. Nearly overtaken by the crowds, Mrs. Fisher felt a hand take hers and pull her up. I will never forget the light in that little old woman's eyes as she told us she looked up to see that it was the pope who had taken her hand. He had noticed and taken the time for the smallest and frailest of the thousands of worshippers, to touch this woman's life so wonderfully and so simply, and for that my pope means the world to me.
Jamie Hazard; Cape Girardeau, Missouri
I don't even know where to begin. He was and still is the most loving, understanding, compassionate man to have ever touched our earth & hearts. I met Pope John Paul II in 1984 when he came to Winnipeg... when I was just 11 years old. I had the honor of getting a smile and a touch on my cheek as he walked down the stairs of the cathedral on McGregor and through the crowd. I remember being so excited to be able to meet our Holy Father, that I asked my grandparents the night before if could go sleep on the steps of the church instead of at their place, and be one of the first one's to lay eyes on him and say "hello." Maybe even give him a hug. To know this great man touched me makes me feel special. He was and still is an incredible man even in death.
Billie; Rouble, Manitoba
This man was truly a saint among us. His example should live on for generations to come. He must surely be in heaven where he will continue being God's messenger through our prayers to him. I am happy that he is no longer suffering, but [I] will miss the man that he was and his mission to bring the world together through love and understanding of all things created by God. May God bless him and all of his people.
Judy Titarniuk; Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Nobody will be able to fill his shoes. The man was a living saint. He was my pope, my Papa, a man who has made me proud of being a Catholic. He embodied all that is good and pure in humanity. He was the people's pope, and we have lost by far the greatest leader for as long as I can remember.
Eva Ichkhanian; Minneapolis, Minnesota
We are located on Lake Simcoe, not far from Strawberry Island, where His Holiness was staying during World Youth Day 3 years ago. My then 6-year-old daughter was having a soccer game, during which the military helicopter carrying the pope flew overhead towards the island. All games stopped to look up. My daughter Gracie decided to draw a picture of the events and I sent it off to the Vatican, but explained to her that she may not get a response, because he is so busy. Two months later, my daughter received a letter addressed to her on official Vatican letterhead, telling her how pleased the Holy Father was to see her drawing and read her letter, and that he would pray for her and her family. It came along with a picture of Pope John Paul II. Gracie cherishes that letter, and held it as she knelt down in front of the TV on Saturday and recited the Lord's Prayer and Hail Mary. I cried, I know he found eternal happiness, may God keep him in peace.
Marianne Salis; Barrie, Ontario
Although I've never met John Paul II, nor have I been very religious, I was strongly impacted by his passing. It is probably a combination of being Polish, knowing him as my only pope, and the profound good he perpetuated throughout the world. Learning of the human side of this pontiff only deepened my appreciation for this man. From his losses growing up, his active lifestyle which included skiing, the way he held a child or expressed compassion to others, to his ultimate suffering and death; I respect the late pope.
Dan Ozog; Bristol, Connecticut
It will be a long time before we see a man like this again. Despite the pressure from just about everybody, he always held fast to the doctrines of the Catholic Church. He accomplished so much in his life and won the love of so many. It's easy to say he will go down in the history books as the biggest figure of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Matt Hackmann; Bartlesville, Oklahoma
Pope John Paul II was truly a man for the ages, one who fought endlessly on our behalf. The commitment of his promise to God and to his followers around the world was always meant to give us strength and hope during his life. With his death we are noticing an outpouring of emotions worldwide for a man who represents the ideals of the Catholic faith, but also any faith with love and appreciation for a man who sacrificed himself for others, regardless of religious orientation. His legacy will live on inside the church, as well as inside those who were touched by him.
Julio; Managua, Nicaragua
I think he was a saint in the making. Twenty-three years ago my daughter was in her second bout with cancer. We were granted an audience with the pope and he blessed her. Her cancer is gone and she has been in remission for 20 years. He truly was/is a saint.
Paul Dombrosky; Honolulu, Hawaii
I think it is a great loss for the world. He was a person that cared very much for everybody. Seeing him was the most wonderful experience I had in my life. Rest in peace.
Ada Chang; El Salvador
Pope John Paul II was one of the most influential people in the church and the world that I have ever known. It is amazing to see such a great person loved by all, even those who are not of this faith. He has been an inspiration to us all and has affected us in more than one way. His constant push for peace in the world has touched me, especially being in the Air Force.
Kevin Hooper; Elkridge, Maryland
In 1989, the pope came to Iceland, while I was stationed there with my family. While he was visiting, my wife gave birth to our fifth child, and we named him John-Paul. At the same time, my oldest son, who was 9, got the privileged opportunity to receive his first holy communion from the pope. I will always hold a special place in my heart for him.
Bruce Nance; Mansfield, Pennsylvania
When many people looked to the power of arms and the overtaking of other countries or people, the pope showed a world a peace that could not be duplicated. He showed a strength that few have by simply following his faith. As a man of God, he led others by example, even forgiving a man who tried to take his life. He ruled no country, but had the world follow him. He will be missed by more people than just one particular faith.
Wayne Peterson; Gray, Tennessee
Pope John Paul II [was] the only pope I remember. I was 12 when he became pope, and he is part of the reason I came back into the Catholic Church about five years ago. His death affected me more than I ever thought it would. In many ways, I felt I had lost a close family member. My thoughts and prayers are with him, and I know that he has been received into the loving arms of God. What a truly holy man he was.
Donna; Henderson, Kentucky
As a non-Catholic, I have deep admiration for Pope John Paul II. He was a "humble giant" who reached out to all people of all faiths. He was a champion of peace, a symbolic gesture of good will, and his legacy will redefine the Catholic Church for years to come. His death has brought a level of sadness unknown to me before. I only hope and pray that his successor continues to make efforts to reach out to all of humanity.
Phil Harris; Fort Washington, Maryland
John Paul II was the embodiment of the Vicar of Christ. He answered only to Jesus. He was not swayed by public opinion or the opinion of world leaders. He stood for truth at all times. His consistent stand for life included the unborn, starving children, workers, families, students, the elderly, the infirm and even condemned prisoners. Truth does not vary over time, neither did John Paul's moral teaching. He was an inspiration to all. As a Polish-American I lost not only my Holy Father but a fellow Pole as well. John Paul II acted with the Lord to free Europe from Soviet enslavement, yet that is not his greatest achievement. His example of what one man can do with faith in Jesus is his lasting gift to humanity.
Mark Stepien; Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Although I am not a Catholic, I was deeply moved by the tributes and remembrances that were given for the pope. Rarely do you find religious leaders who are truly of their faith and not their finances. The pope was a great leader and man. All religious leaders should pattern themselves behind him.
Rose; Asbury Park, New Jersey
It is with a heavy heart that I bid farewell to the leader of my faith, and the most inspirational man of my time. Pope John Paul II was a man of peace and love. Let his message and teachings not be in vain, let us continue to work on his mission of acquiring world peace. God bless, may you rest in eternal peace.
Tammy Dixon; Scarborough, Canada
I am not Catholic, but I am truly saddened by the passing of Pope John Paul II. He was a beautiful, caring and loving man. The fact that so many millions around the world are mourning him, that alone tells of the impact that he had on so many lives. It will be hard to fill his shoes. Goodnight, sir.
Sonya Kidd; Niagara Falls, Canada
I had the opportunity to see Pope John Paul II in his visit to El Salvador. I was about 12 years old at that time and I will never forget what I felt when I saw him. I could feel an enormous peace in my heart, a notable and uncontrollable happiness lay between the hearts that saw him. A man that has changed my way of seeing things. Because people like him make better persons. He has now left us, but his legacy will always be carried and practiced. We will always remember Pope John Paul II and how he has reunited with God, I'm sure he is so happy right now. Rest in peace holy man. El Salvador, Central America, will carry you in our hearts forever.
Alejandra; San Salvador, El Salvador
Pope John Paul II was the constant force of good in my adult life. He helped me to grow closer to my adopted church and learn more about what it means to be a servant of God. He showed that it is possible to stand for what is right, even when it's not popular, and even dangerous. He was beyond anything I could have imagined a pope would be when he took office. He not only had the charisma that everyone is talking about now, but also he had immense courage and vision. There may be other good, even great popes, but there will never be another like him.
Peggy Wickham; Raleigh, North Carolina
John Paul II the great! The pope that is king of hearts. A man that walked the steps of a saint, that rode to countries to unite people. ... We weep though he does not want it, for his godly aura and loving heart were always at hand. My beloved pope who loved my country Mexico. [It] is the greatest loss on Earth since Jesus himself died.
Mina Diaz de Rivera; Dana Point, California
I am Catholic. I have drifted away from the church because of profound disagreements with some of the its positions, but today I grieve. I grieve deeply for a brother of the human family. The world has lost a champion against injustice, who preached about the power of love and compassion and brought us hope.
Kees van Beelen; Pembroke, Bermuda
It's hard not to have great respect for anyone who stays with their beliefs for more than 80 years of life. The world needs more charismatic people who stand up for morality. With that kind of marketing there is a little less suffering in the world. Hopefully the next pope will be just as outgoing to fight against hunger, poverty, war and overall human suffering.
Christine Dumouchelle; Atlanta, Georgia
I was not even 2 years old when I met Pope John Paul II. I am from Newfoundland, and the pope had a Mass in a large field in St. John's. People had to be invited to receive Eucharist from the pope, and my parents were invited because of their work with our church. As my father walked up to receive the Eucharist, I was in his arms and as the pope gave my father Eucharist, he saw me and touched my face. Although I do not remember this, to know I was touched by this great man makes me feel special. He was an incredible man and our faith, and the world, has lost a great leader.
Daniel Furey; St. John's, Canada
I'm not a Catholic. To be candid, I'm not a religious person even remotely. And yet when I see this person, the Pope John Paul II, I've but an abiding respect and admiration for what he did for all of us and what he stood for. His parting gift to the world now, it seems, is a legacy the Catholic governance at the Vatican would find difficult to ignore now that the world has tasted the finest that a pope can deliver and stand for.
Saumen Sengupta; Utica, New York
A saint has passed among us. Yet I will echo a California man's regret that this great but conservative pope missed the opportunity to modernize the Catholic religion. J.P. II had the unique charisma and respected authority to accede women to priesthood and administrative command positions. May his successor pick up that task.
Fred J. Gauthier; Miami, Florida
His face in death did show the pain he went through, sacrificing and suffering in full acceptance, in total obedience to God's will. He might have, in his wisdom and in his beautiful heart wanted to show us that we too mortals can also choose to nobly embrace death, in humble reflection of our Christ's chalice of agony. Farewell and Godspeed our most beloved Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. We know in our hearts that we have one more saint in heaven who will pray and intercede for us.
Celia Rivera; Dallas, Texas