Canonized 9 years after his death
April 2, 2014
Nine years ago today Pope John Paul II died, with a reputation for sanctity, at 21:37 in the papal apartment. Shortly before, in the same room, at 20:00, Msgr. Stanislaw Dziwisz had celebrated the Mass of the following day, Divine Mercy Sunday.
On this anniversary people’s minds turn spontaneously to the last hours the soon-to-be Saint spent on this earth, filled with the ceaseless prayer of the whole Church, represented by the thousands of faithful who had gathered in St Peter’s Square to accompany the Pope.
John Paul II canonized more saints than any other Pope. One of them was St Josemaria. Moreover, Pope John Paul II talked about St Josemaria several times, including just a month before his death, in a speech to a group of university lecturers and students who had come to Rome for a congress. He said: “As you know, the vocation of the lay faithful is to aim for holiness, imbuing the things of this world with the Christian spirit. So for you too, dear university lecturers and students, as St Josemaria used to say, work, and study, have to be ‘a constant prayer. It has the same lovable words, but a different tune each day. It is very much our mission to transform the prose of this life into poetry, into heroic verse’ (St Josemaria Escriva, Furrow, 500).
The imminent canonization of John Paul II, together with John XXIII, brings to mind his reputation for holiness when he died (“Santo subito!” was the message on many banners, in the days following his death).
The Vatican has published some details of the ceremony to be held on 27 April in St Peter’s Square. Holy Mass will be celebrated by Pope Francis, and it is hoped that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will also take part, since, said Father Lombardi, “He will certainly have been invited, but there is still a month to go. We will just have to wait and see.”
Two people whose cures are attributed to the intercession of Blessed John Paul II will be present at the ceremony: Floribeth Mora from Costa Rica, and the French Religious Sister Marie Simon-Pierre.
Entry to St Peter’s Square is free, and St Peter’s Basilica will be open in the evening of 27 April so that pilgrims can pray before the tombs of the two new Saints.
On Saturday 26 April eleven churches in Rome will be open from 21:00 onwards, so that pilgrims can pray and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Passages from the preaching and writing of the two Popes will be read for meditation in different languages, to make their lives and message known still more widely.
The Vatican is setting up an official website for the canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII: 2papisanti.org.
Additionally, accounts and/or channels have been opened on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. A mobile app, “Santo Subito”, is being launched, offering texts and other material to help people follow the canonization ceremony, and news about the canonization.
33 television cameras and 9 satellites will enable millions of people to follow the canonization of the two Popes from their own homes. For this event, the Vatican Television Centre is working together with Sky, Sony, Eutelsat, Globecast, DBW Communication, Nexo Digital, and other companies.
500 cinemas in 20 countries such as Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Spain, the UK and the USA will be showing the ceremony live.
See Rome Reports video.