Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will both become saints on Sunday April 26th
If you’ve made the pilgrimage to Rome this weekend, we’re willing to bet that you’ve noticed that the crowds are a little larger than usual.
Today more than one million visitors were expected to arrive in Rome for the canonization mass tomorrow, Sunday April 27th.
Two Popes: A Historic Canonization
Tomorrow’s canonization is attracting even more attention that most because it will see two Popes honored at once!
John XXIII was Pope from 1958 to until his death in 1963. Born in Bergamo, in Northern Italy, John XXIII embraced the poor and was revered by more liberal-leaning Catholics, who called him "the Good Pope." The papacy of John XXIII was no less influential on the Church for it’s shortness. He called the Second Vatican Council, which lasted from 1962 and 1965, and aimed to move the Church into the modern age.
John Paul II led the Catholic church for nearly three decades, from 1978 until his death in 2005. The Polish Pope was beloved by conservatives and seen as returning to the principles of Catholicism. His canonization is unusual for how quickly it comes after his death. In 2005 many Catholics considered it a given that he would eventually be sainted, but the canonization process can only begin 5 years after death. Pope Benedict waived this requirement for John Paul II, fast-tracking the process so that he will now be become a saint only 9 years after his death.
These two Popes are very different, both of them beloved, but by very different types of believers. Many say that in making the historic decision to canonize them at once, Pope Francis is sending a unifying message to Catholics that both liberals and conservatives are welcome in the Catholic Church.
Two More Popes!
Not only is this canonization ground-breaking for the two Popes entering into sainthood at once, but for the fact that two living Popes will be present as well!
Benedict XVI, who stepped down 6 years into his papacy just last year and became "Pope Emeritus," will also be present tomorrow.
The Canonization ceremony will begin at 10:00am UTC, to be watched by millions - both in St Peter’s Square, and all around the world.