John XXIII and John Paul II inscribed in the Book of Saints
Vatican Information Service - Vatican City, 27 April
Half a million people attended the ceremony in St Peter's Square for the canonisation of the “two Pope saints”: John XXIII and John Paul II.
Since it was opened to the public at 5am, the square and its environs were filled with faithful from all over the world; Polish pilgrims, however, constituted one of the largest groups. The event was also attended by delegations from over a hundred countries, more than twenty Heads of State and many figures from the world of politics and culture, including the King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium, Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, the ex-president of the Republic of Poland Lech Walesa, the president of the Argentine parliament Julian Dominguez and the presidents of the European Union, Herman Van Rompuy, and the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso. The celebration was also attended by Floribeth Mora Diaz and Sister Adele Labianca, the carer of Caterina Capitani – the two women who experienced the miracles attributed to John Paul II.
Banners with portraits of the two saints – the same ones used for their respective beatifications – were displayed on the facade of the Basilica. In the square, adorned with more than 30,000 roses from Ecuador, and in Via della Conciliazione, hundreds of thousands of faithful prepared for the celebration by reciting the chaplet of Divine Mercy, intercalated with texts from the magisterium of both pontiffs and preceded by the Hymn to Blessed John XXIII, “Good Shepherd of Christ's flock”. The prayer ended with the Hymn to Blessed John Paul II, “Open the doors to Christ”.
Under intermittent rain, and during litanies invoking the protection of the saints, there began the procession of concelebrating cardinals and bishops who, before taking their places, greeted Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who also concelebrated alongside the Holy Father. A few minutes after 10am, Pope Francis entered the square and, before proceeding with the rite for the proclamation of the new saints, greeted and embraced the Pope emeritus.
Moments later Cardinal Angelo Amato SDB, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, accompanied by the postulators, asked Pope Francis to inscribe the names of the two Blessed Popes in the Book of Saints, and the Holy Father pronounced the formula for canonisation:
“For the honour of the Blessed Trinity, the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the increase of the Christian life, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and own own, after due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brother Bishops, we declare and define Blessed
John Paul II
be Saints and we enrol them among the Saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole Church.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
This was followed by the presentation to the Pope of the relics of the two saints, which were displayed on the altar throughout the ceremony; these were a phial of the blood of John Paul II, which had been displayed on 1 May 2011, and a piece of skin removed from the body of John XXIII when it was exhumed for his beatification on 3 September 2000.
Read full report at Vatican Information Service
The Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP - who concelebrated the Canonisation Mass with Pope Francis - has been blogging while in Rome for the Canonisation celebrations. You can read Bishop Anthony’s Blog here.
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