US Flight Crash: Catholic Friar on Board, Prayed with Pope John Paul II Relic

A Catholic friar, who was on board the plane that crash landed in Poland on Tuesday, said he prayed to God and held a lock of hair belonging to Pope John Paul II as the plane circled in turmoil above the airport.

Father Piotr Chyla said he prayed to God and said final absolutions for the passengers, some of who were saying their final goodbyes, but acknowledged the pilot had just as much to do with the survival of all 231 people as divine intervention.

The Roman friar shared his story with the Associated Press, and explained how he sees the landing from the position of a man of faith.

"We should put together the human dimension - the excellent pilot, the professional cabin crew and the ground staff - together with the Godly dimension,” said Chyla.

Chyla prayed and gripped a lock of hair belonging to the late Pope John Paul II and relics of Gianna Beretta Molla, an Italian pediatrician who was canonized in 2004 after she sacrificed her life to give birth to her child instead of choosing abortion.

The Father did not reveal how he obtained the lock of hair, but relics such as that are not uncommon possessions. Pope John Paul II, who was beatified earlier this year, is one of the most famous Polish and Catholic figures in history.

Chyla warned, however, that answers are hard to come by as to why the plane was spared: "There could have been many outside factors that could have prevented a safe landing, like wind."

Many in Poland are calling the landing a miracle; although, the Father insisted that Capt. Tadeusz Wrona, as well as the plane crew and airport staff, should be credited as well.

Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski has called the pilot a hero, and the remarkable story is still making both national and global headlines.