Poland, a nation that wars had once wiped off the map of Eastern Europe, is now highlighted on that map in the minds of Catholics and non-Catholics alike because one of its native sons became one of the longest reigning and most charismatic popes in history.
“The pope just died,” came the whisper. It was April 2, 2005, and I was in the midst of presenting the final talk of a seminar on the teaching of John Paul II. I shared the news with my audience. We all paused, prayed, and I somberly concluded the seminar.
Pope Francis has declared two of his predecessors, John Paul II and John XXIII, saints of the Roman Catholic church in an unprecedented double-canonisation mass in St Peter’s Square.
The two towering figures of the 20th-century church were canonised to great applause from hundreds of thousands of pilgrims gathered in the Vatican piazza.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Recognizing that Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II have widespread reputations for holiness and that years of studying their lives and actions have proven their exceptional virtue, Pope Francis announced he would declare his two predecessors saints at a single ceremony April 27.