Hundreds of Catholics gathered at Holy Rosary Cathedral in downtown Vancouver Thursday night to mourn the death of Pope John Paul II.

The Archbishop of Vancouver said requiem mass for the Pope, whose funeral was held at the Vatican on Friday.

Archbishop Raymond Roussin said Vancouver Catholics should take heart that John Paul II has gone to a better place.

"There's obviously the sorrow of losing someone who's so powerful a figure in world history as well as in the church. But it is also a source of joy because we believe in life everlasting and we believe that he is already there."

The mood at the Vancouver service was not only one of sorrow but of quiet celebration – as some those in attendance told stories of how the Pope helped them through difficult times.

Maggie Radomski, who lived in Poland during the Solidarity movement of the early 1980s, credits the movement's success to the Polish Pope's guiding hand.

"He was the inspiration. He gave us the strength. He asked us to believe in righteousness. He was just a, how shall I say, a holy spirit who sat on Polish land."

And Edwin Arinal says he has fond memories of the Pope's visit to his native Philippines for World Youth day in 1995.

"I was one of the delegates. And as a Catholic he is more than a Pope. He is a friend, like a grandfather. It's just like I feel his presence."