Honouring Two Beloved Popes

On April 27th in St. Peter’s Square, the heart of the Church and the heart of the W orld will beat as one. The Canonisa-tion, by Pope Francis, of two of the most beloved Popes in modern history – John XXIII and John Paul II, the Good Pope and Karol, the Great Pope – will capture the attention of the whole world. John XXIII, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Francis – Four Popes symbolically united in St Peter’s Square – A completely unprece-dented event in the history of the Church.At Pope John Paul’s Funeral, the average wait to see him was 13 hours. The line was over 3 miles long. Over 150 cardinals concelebrated, 700 archbishops and bishops were present, and 3,000 priests participated. It was the largest gathering of statesmen in human history. It was the first time an Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church had attended a papal funeral since the Great Schism of 1054. 159 foreign delegations were in attendance, as were 10 kings, 5 queens, 3 princes, 59 heads of state, 17 prime ministers, 10 presidents, 8 vice presidents, 12 foreign ministers, 24 ambassadors, general directors, secretary generals or presidents of international organizations, 23 delegations of Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox Churches, 8 Churches or ecclesial communities, international Christian organizations, and Jewish delegations. More than 3 million pilgrims came together in Rome for the funeral of Blessed John Paul II on April 8, 2005. And the people cried “Santo subito!” Loosely translated, it means “saint him now!” Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims are expected to flock to Rome today on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27, for the canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II. John Paul II’s canonization is not only of religious significance to Poles, but for all the Catholic faithful and for people of all faiths and none. He is the most important person in Poland’s 1,000-year history. The canonization of Pope John XXIII, fondly known as “the Good Pope,” is also a cause for considerable celebration.The fanfare surrounding the canonizations of the two popes emphasizes the important role the saints play in the life of the faithful. He also said that, much like St. Thomas Aquinas, John Paul II and John XXIII will have an influence on the Church long after their deaths. They were such holy men, and their contributions to the Church will not stop anytime soon. The significance of becoming a saint can also have a great personal impact on individual Catholics, who need to be reminded that “sainthood means happiness. It is important that we know that the way we walk leads us to happiness. We all want to be happy, and sainthood is an example that our brothers and sisters achieved happiness. These two great men are in heaven. If they could achieve it, we can, too.


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