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Pope Francis issues messages for canonizations of John XXIII, John Paul II

Catholic World News - April 25, 2014

Pope Francis has issued messages on the occasion of the upcoming canonizations of Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II.

Pope Francis addressed his first message to the people of Bergamo, the northern Italian province in which John XXIII was born. “I invite you to thank the Lord for the great gift that his sanctity was for the universal Church, and I encourage you to cherish the memory of the land in which it germinated, a land made of profound faith lived out in daily life.” Bergamo, Pope Francis said, is a land of families that are “poor, but united by love of the Lord” and of communities “capable of sharing in simplicity.”

John XXIII’s legacy, Pope Francis added, “can inspire even today a Church called to live the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing … The renewal desired by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council opened the way, and it is a special joy that the canonization of Pope Roncalli [John XXIII] happens alongside that of Blessed John Paul II,” who continued “the renewal in his long pontificate,” said Pope Francis.

In a video message to Poles, Pope Francis said that “John Paul II continues to inspire us. His words, his writings, his gestures, his style of service, inspire us. His suffering lived with hope inspires us,” as does “his total trust in Christ, the Redeemer of man, and the Mother of God.”

Quoting Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis added:

What the newly-elected Pope asked of everyone, he was himself the first to do: society, culture, political and economic systems he opened up to Christ, turning back with the strength of a titan – a strength which came to him from God – a tide which appeared irreversible. By his witness of faith, love and apostolic courage, accompanied by great human charisma, this exemplary son of Poland helped believers throughout the world not to be afraid to be called Christian, to belong to the Church, to speak of the Gospel. In a word: he helped us not to fear the truth, because truth is the guarantee of liberty.

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