The predominantly Catholic Philippines celebrated Sunday the beatification of Pope John Paul II, who visited the country twice during his nearly three decades of papacy. Memorabilia of the late pontiff was put on display in various churches in the capital, including the marble altar and cassock he used when he said Mass during his World Youth Day visit in 1995. An estimated 5 to 7 million people attended that service in Luneta Park in central Manila. It was called the largest single gathering at a Mass officiated by a pope. The bulletproof vehicle used by John Paul II during the 1995 visit was driven around the streets of metropolitan Manila during Sunday’s celebration. Masses throughout the country were dedicated to the well-loved pontiff, who died in 2005. Beatification is an official recognition by religious authorities, that may lead to being declared a saint. A shrine in honour of Pope John Paul II was scheduled to be inaugurated Monday in Morong town of Bataan province, 120 kilometres north-west of Manila, where he celebrated a service to thousands of Vietnam War refugees during his first visit in the Philippines in 1981.