Very rarely do the ripple effects of benevolent actions by people thousands of miles away have noticeable, beneficial and meaningful effects locally. On a certain level, any positive act that affects the lives of thousands or even millions of people can be regarded as miraculous.

A few Harford residents are testaments to how life-affecting such actions can be.

In 1962, Pope John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council, arguably the most substantial overhaul of the management structure of the Catholic Church undertaken since the Emperor Constantine called the First Council of Nicaea in 325. Among the many changes brought about as a result of John XXIII's council was an opening of many ministries to people – and especially women – of faith who had not chosen to enter priestly or monastic life.

Carol Pacione, of Fallston, who is in a leadership position with a parish in the Towson area, was among the people whose lives have been shaped by their ability to partake in a substantial and meaningful way in church activities. Years after Vatican II closed, Pacione was an organizer of the visit by Pope John Paul II to Baltimore, an event many in Maryland still reflect on as electric and inspiring.

Interviewed on the eve of the canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II, Pacione reflected on how her life was affected by John XXIII, saying that without his actions, "I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing."

Kathleen Schenking, of Street, was blessed by the Pope on her 22nd birthday during a trip to Rome through Loyola University Maryland 25 years ago.

Of that meeting, she said: "I have believed that his blessing has brought goodness to me in my life and I am very grateful."