Have you heard that this Sunday (April 27), two new saints will be officially named....two blessed popes (John XXIII and John Paul II) will be elevated to help us remember to be inspired by their faith.
The Vatican has been posting information for our use at:
as have the U.S. Bishops Conference:
Here is a quick video that explains the canonization process (Thanks, Busted Halo for another great video!)
If you want a quick visual guide on the canonization process, CNS created this one:
A few personal thoughts:
Related to this historic moment of the canonization of two popes,
It JUST occurred to me moments ago that I have been SO fortunate to be in the presence of a saint....
I mean, I know that I am often near people filled with God's love so deeply that we can call them a saint, but this is a real-life, almost canonized (will be on Sunday) person. Wow. How cool is that?
I was "with" Blessed John Paul II in Denver 1993, Paris 1997, Rome 1999, Rome 2000, and Toronto 2002. Although I never got to talk with him one-on-one, I was within 5 feet of him twice and impacted by his ministry. Here are just a few memories:
Denver, August 1993 -- World Youth Day events
Papal Welcome on Thursday, August 12 at Mile High Stadium
--- Our group (Diocese of Cleveland) received tickets for this event, so we fed into the crowd funneling into the stadium. As we awaited the Holy Father, we sang songs, talked with teens and young adults from numerous countries, and we got wet -- it was raining!
However, as the helicopters approached the stadium, a rainbow arched in the sky, and the sun peaked out.....by the time Pope John Paul II greeted us, the rain had stopped! What a stunning moment for us all!
Here are the words he shared with us that evening:
Vigil Prayer on Saturday, August 14 at Cherry Creek Park
--- a long pilgrimage walk led us from downtown Denver to this large open area. Many of us Ohioans expected trees at the park, bu it was just an open area. The heat of the sun exhausted us, but the singing and prayer kept us going. Camping out with a half-million people is a unique experience!
Here are the Holy Father's words from the vigil:
Closing Mass on Sunday, August 15 at Cherry Creek Park
--- Despite dealing with altitude sickness/thinner air, lack of sleep, and some lack of adequate nutrition (McDonald's supplied the food stands for the week, and there was a minimal number of options, which caused some people to suffer digestive issues), the community rallied together for a fantastic outdoor Mass.
Here is the homily from that day:
Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 1999 in Rome, Italy
--- Did you know that there is a tradition for the Holy Father to meet with faithful near at the Piazza di Spagna near the Spanish Steps in Rome at a statue of Mary to pray during the Feast of the Immaculate Conception? I did NOT know this until happenstance placed me there, and lo and behold, a car pulls up right next to where I am standing and I see Pope John Paul II get out to lead the prayer! Wow! There was even a moment when our eyes met, and I truly felt a sense of God's love rush over me. I know, it sounds a bit strange, as I was even surprised by it -- but this man definitely exuded a spiritual presence!
This was a much less formal celebration that the World Youth Day liturgies and events I had attended, so I was struck by the humbleness and "centeredness" of the Holy Father as he took a few minutes to venerate the Holy Mother at the statue.
I have more memories (and many more pictures), but this isn't really about me....although I am still amazed that I was able to be with a saint so many times. I cannot even imagine what it must have been like to be near Pope John XXIII, since he was so unexpected and ushered in so much change/rejuvination for the ChurchI hope that I can always stay focused on the GOOD done by these holy men so that I can be inspired to faith-filled in my daily life.
May we all be inspired by the witness of faith of both of these holy men!
St. John and St. John Paul, pray for us!
Here is a bonus news story on Popes as Saints:
Cindee Case, MAPS
Director of the Diocese of Youngstown Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.