Pope Francis has truly made history this year and now he is doing something else for the first time in history. Both Popes John XXIII and John Paul II will be declared saints on April 27th, 2014. This is the first time two popes will be declared saints on the same day. This announcement was made by Pope Francis earlier this fall as an effort to promote unity within the Roman Catholic Church.
Known as a hero for progressive Catholics and lead the Catholic church from 1958-1963 John XXIII called on the Second Vatican Council that transformed the church. He is remembered for introducing the vernacular to replace the Latin language in church masses and for creating stronger ties between the Catholic Church and the Jewish faith. John XXIII also has a big following in Italy where he is known as Il Papa Buono, the good pope.
Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was the fourth of fourteen children born in a village in Lombardy. He was ordained a priest in 1904 and was made a cardinal in 1953. After being elected pope in 1958 at the age of 76 he took the pontifical name of John. He was the first pope in more than 500 years to take this name.
John Paul II
Known as a conservative and the first non-Italian pope for more than 400 years, John Paul II lead the Catholic Church from 1978-2005. Since his death he has been on the fast track for sainthood. Right after his death crowds surrounded St. Peter’s Square chanting santo subito meaning sainthood now.
John Paul II was known as Blessed John Paul or John Paul the Great and was the second longest serving pope in history and one of the most influential leaders in the 20th century. He is recognized for significantly improving the Catholic Church’s relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion. John Paul II was one of the most traveled leaders in history, visiting 129 countries. Also during his time as a pope he beatified 1,340 people and canonized 483 saints, which is more than the combined total of his predecessors during the preceding five centuries.
Becoming a saint involves a series of steps, but to be qualified saints must put their holy life and two miracles together. Pope John Paul II was first to to have miraculously cured a French nun who was stricken by Parkinson’s disease. And the second miracle is said to have occurred when a woman with a brain aneurism recovered after praying to John Paul II. Candidates for sainthood usually have to have two miracles attributed to them, but Pope Francis approved the canonization of Pope John XXIII with only one, the curing of an ailing woman.
The canonization will take place on April 27th, 2014 which is the fist Sunday after Easter. That day is also known as the Divine Mercy Sunday and Pope John Paul II promoted the devotion to the Feast of the Divine Mercy. This day was also picked in context of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, and the universally heartfelt fame that surrounds John XXIII.
What do you think about John XXIII and John Paul II becoming saints on the same day?