Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Pope Francis canonizes John XXIII and John Paul II

Catholic World News - April 28, 2014

Pope Francis canonized two of his predecessors, John XXIII (1958-63) and John Paul II (1978-2005), during a Mass in St. Peter’s Square on April 27.

An estimated 800,000 pilgrims were present in Rome for the Mass. Immediately prior to the canonization, the faithful were invited to sing hymns and recite the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI attended the Mass, along with 150 cardinals, 1,000 bishops, and delegates from over 90 nations.

The rite of canonization took place at the beginning of the Mass, following the chanting of the Litany of the Saints and the introit. Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, read out three petitions, the last of which was “Most Holy Father, Holy Church, trusting in the Lord’s promise to send upon her the Spirit of Truth, who in every age keeps the supreme Magisterium immune from error, most earnestly beseeches Your Holiness to enroll these, her elect, among the Saints.”

Pope Francis then spoke the formula of canonization:

For the honor of the Blessed Trinity, the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the increase of the Christian life, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own, after due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brother Bishops, we declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II be Saints and we enroll them among the Saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole Church. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Following the rite, members of St. John XXIII’s family and a woman healed through St. John Paul’s intercession brought relics of the saints to Pope Francis.

The two saints “were not afraid to look upon the wounds of Jesus, to touch his torn hands and his pierced side,” Pope Francis preached during his homily. “They were not ashamed of the flesh of Christ, they were not scandalized by him, by his cross; they did not despise the flesh of their brother, because they saw Jesus in every person who suffers and struggles. These were two men of courage, filled with the parrhesia [boldness] of the Holy Spirit, and they bore witness before the Church and the world to God’s goodness and mercy.”

“They were priests, and bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Pope Francis continued. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful; faith was more powerful – faith in Jesus Christ the Redeemer of man and the Lord of history; the mercy of God, shown by those five wounds, was more powerful; and more powerful too was the closeness of Mary our Mother.”

“In these two men, who looked upon the wounds of Christ and bore witness to his mercy, there dwelt a living hope and an indescribable and glorious joy,” Pope Francis added. “The hope and the joy which the risen Christ bestows on his disciples, the hope and the joy which nothing and no one can take from them. The hope and joy of Easter, forged in the crucible of self-denial, self-emptying, utter identification with sinners, even to the point of disgust at the bitterness of that chalice. Such were the hope and the joy which these two holy popes had received as a gift from the risen Lord and which they in turn bestowed in abundance upon the People of God, meriting our eternal gratitude.”

Pope Francis paid tribute to St. John XXIII as the “Pope of openness to the Holy Spirit” and St. John Paul II as the “Pope of the family”:

John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the Church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries. Let us not forget that it is the saints who give direction and growth to the Church.

In convening the Council, Saint John XXIII showed an exquisite openness to the Holy Spirit. He let himself be led and he was for the Church a pastor, a servant-leader, guided by the Holy Spirit. This was his great service to the Church; for this reason I like to think of him as the pope of openness to the Holy Spirit.

In his own service to the People of God, Saint John Paul II was the pope of the family. He himself once said that he wanted to be remembered as the pope of the family. I am particularly happy to point this out as we are in the process of journeying with families towards the Synod on the family. It is surely a journey which, from his place in heaven, he guides and sustains.

“May these two new saints and shepherds of God’s people intercede for the Church, so that during this two-year journey toward the Synod she may be open to the Holy Spirit in pastoral service to the family,” Pope Francis concluded. “May both of them teach us not to be scandalized by the wounds of Christ and to enter ever more deeply into the mystery of divine mercy, which always hopes and always forgives, because it always loves.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($24,922 to go):
$150,000.00 $125,077.96
17% 83%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: frjpharrington3912 - Apr. 28, 2014 7:42 PM ET USA

    The image of St.John Paul II standing in Battery Park New York City on a very cloudy fall day, his cope fluttering in the wind off the East River with the statue of Liberty behind him and thousands around him eagerly leaning to hear him talk to them about God is an indelible memory of mine. 1979 seems like a long time ago but his bold words "Be not afraid to embrace Jesus Christ" still resonate in the hearts and minds of millions who accepted the call of Christ and have never looked back.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Facing entrenched opposition, Pope Francis plows ahead on Vatican reform 6 hours ago
The cardinal who can't let go 12 hours ago
Denial of Service Attack: Success! December 19
Federal debt as a social-justice concern December 19
Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle December 18

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17