"He was a man for the people, lovely. Was he the first pope to come to Scotland? Yes, yes," one pilgrim said.
The relic for the mass -- a vial of his blood -- was carried to the altar by two nuns. One of them whose cure from Parkinson's Disease was accepted as the miracle that paved the way for the beatification.
"I think it's a very important day because the church has recognized the great pontificate John Paul II had for all those years and how he was a true proclaimer of the faith of the church," another pilgrim said.
"There was something about the pope. He was attentive to the given preoccupations of a nation. He was very clear on church teaching and church doctrine, but he did it in a way that he would challenge people. But I never found him to be arrogant about it. I found him just to be clear," said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
The beatification was a celebration of his work on earth and his life. It was a much more uplifting mood for the many who made the same journey here when he died.
"It was like a carnival. John Paul II loved this sort of thing with the World Youth Day and just having fun with it," one pilgrim said.
Before the late pontiff can be canonized, there must be a second miracle attributed to him. Hundreds of people have already placed their stories on the Holy See's Beatification website for consideration.