This a great day.
Today is the canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII.
From FOX News:
On Sunday, Pope Francis makes history yet again. He makes two Popes saints in a single ceremony--John Paul II and John XXIII, the man who convened the Second Vatican Council in 1959.
A lot has been made of the contrasts between the two Pontiffs. John the XXIII is known as having been a great liberalizing force for the Catholic Church, and John Paul II a real advocate for adhering to its most conservative tenets. But many church insiders say actually the two men represent continuity in the Church. John XXIII made it more accessible to people by replacing Latin masses with vernacular ones, and having priests face the congregations rather than stand with their backs to them. And John Paul II, with his tireless globetrotting, brought the Church to the people.
...Senior Communications Adviser Greg Burke said, "John Paul II brought the Gospel to the people, so many of the people you see on the streets these days, you talk to them and they have, they might not have met the Pope, but they had a personal experience with him. They saw him, probably in their hometown, they remember it, they were moved by it."
The Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, knew John Paul II from the time he was Archbishop Wojtyla of Krakow. They worked together on a committee. Ultimately it was Pope John Paul II who ordained Wuerl when he became a Bishop. Wuerl said, "That will always be the high point of my relationship with him. To be ordained a Bishop by a man today the whole world recognizes as worthy of being called a saint."
Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian Pope in centuries, and his election, at a time when Poles, along with their East European neighbors were struggling under the yoke of Soviet Communism, deprived of freedom of expression and religion. He became a symbol of resistance in that part of the world and is credited with helping bring about the fall of the Soviet Union and subsequent regime changes in its satellite states.
Among the groups who embraced John Paul II with the most enthusiasm were young people around the world. He did a lot to grab their attention and fire up their faith.
Father Thomas Rosica of the Holy See Press Office noted, "What is amazing about this unique relationship of John Paul II and young people is the older he got and the more infirm he became, the more significant he was for young people. One would think that young people would only look tothose that are agile and beautiful and standing tall, athletes and stars that the world offers us."
And Rosica adds, John Paul did not water down religion for them.
"He held the bar high for them, he was no quick sell for them, he didn't pander to them. He held the bar high and he invited them to follow him."
There is a powerful Polish contingent on St. Peter's Square getting ready for the big day. 2000 busloads of Poles were said to have made the journey to Rome overland.
Video: Announcement of John Paul II becoming Pope, October 1978
Watch video of the Canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II:
In their own words: Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII
Saint John XXIII pray for us! Saint John Paul II pray for us!— Cardinal Dolan (@CardinalDolan) April 27, 2014