John Paul II set for sainthood in April
John XXIII to be sainted too30 September, 19:34
(ANSA) - Vatican City, September 30 - Pope John Paul II will be proclaimed a saint on April 27, 2014, Pope Francis told a consistory of cardinals at the Vatican on Monday. The Argentine pontiff said that another of his predecessors, John XXIII, will be canonized on the same day.
The two late popes were among the 20th century's most charismatic.
The date marks the first Sunday after Easter and also the Feast of Divine Mercy, one of John Paul's favourite feasts because it marks revelations in 1931 by Jesus to a Polish nun, who the Polish pontiff canonised as Saint Faustina in 2000.
It will also be the 75th birthday of Krakow Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, John Paul's long-time secretary and friend.
Work on a shrine to John Paul in Krakow, where he was archbishop from 1964 until his election to the papacy in 1978, is speeding ahead and is expected to be ready by next spring.
"John XXIII was the great prophet and creator of the Second Vatican Council while John Paul was the one who put it into practice and developed it, in all its components and all its virtualities," said Cardinal Angelo Amato, the head of the Vatican's canonisation department, during an August announcement that the canonisations would take place.
John XXIII was a hugely popular Italian pontiff, who reigned from 1958 to 1963 and shaped the Second Vatican Council, which is seen as trying to retool the Church for the needs of the modern world.
John Paul II was the equally groundbreaking, Polish pope who led the Church from 1978 to 2005.
Previous reports had said the twin canonisations would take place by the end of this year and perhaps as early as October 22.
Francis recently dwelt on the way the pair had left their mark on the Church.
Asked to describe the two late popes, the pope said Blessed John XXIII was "a bit of the 'country priest,' a priest who loves each of the faithful and knows how to care for them; he did this as a bishop and as a nuncio.
"He was holy, patient, had a good sense of humor and, especially by calling the Second Vatican Council, was a man of courage, Pope Francis said. "He was a man who let himself be guided by the Lord".
As for Blessed John Paul II, Francis said, "I think of him as 'the great missionary of the church,' because he was "a man who proclaimed the Gospel everywhere".
On July 5 Francis made the last key move to make saints of his two most popular recent predecessors, whose impact on the Catholic Church and charismatic leadership many think the new pontiff will end up rivaling.
Francis, who has already gained comparisons to those two titans of the Church with his common touch and moves to shake up an entrenched and allegedly corrupt Vatican hierarchy, signed the decree needed for their canonisation, confirming speculation that it would take place at the same time.
John Paul II and John XXIII are widely considered the best-loved and most influential popes of the modern era.
During his term from 16 October, 1978 until his death at 84 on April 2, 2005, the former Cardinal Karol Wojtyla spread the faith on globe-trotting, crowd-pleasing missions and helped hasten the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.
John XXIII called the historic Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) that gave hope to progressive Catholics everywhere, although its thrust was later blunted by conservatives. John XXIII's passionate views on equality were summed up in his famous statement "We were all made in God's image, and thus, we are all Godly alike".
Francis ordered John XXIII, known as 'the good pope', to become a saint despite his not having a second miracle to his credit.
The northern Italian-born pope, who was beatified in 2000, was exempted because of the strong advice of a special Vatican panel.
The miracle needed for John Paul, whose funeral in 2005 featured choruses of "Saint Now", took place on the day of his beatification on May 1, 2011.
The board of theologians of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved that second key miracle on June 18.
The first miracle attributed to John Paul for his beatification - the first of two steps on the path to sainthood - was, as required by the Vatican's rigorous standards which include vetting by non-Catholic doctors, an "inexplicable cure".
The pontiff's successor Pope Benedict XVI, who abdicated earlier this year, sanctioned the beatification after a Vatican commission officially attributed as a miracle the inexplicable recovery of a French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, from Parkinson's Disease.
The Vatican ruled that this came through the intervention of John Paul II.
The second miracle was the inexplicable recovery from a stroke by a Costa Rican woman, Floribeth Mora Diaz, who prayed to the Polish pope in 2011 and got better after doctors said they could "do nothing for her".