24 HEADS OF STATE IN ROME FOR CANONIZATION OF 2 POPES

April 25 --Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will join the roster of saints at a historic Vatican ceremony on Sunday seen as an attempt to unite conservatives and reformists, with some 800,000 pilgrims expected in Rome. The double canonization of two of modern-day Catholicism’s most influential figures will be presided over by Pope Francis and may be attended by his elderly predecessor Benedict XVI, bringing two living Pontiffs together to celebrate two deceased predecessors. Delegations from 54 countries are expected, including 24 heads of state, as well as hundreds of thousands from across the world who will be able to follow the ceremonies in different languages on 19 giant screens in some of the Italian capital’s most picturesque spots. (A Malacañang official said President Benigno Aquino III decided to forego any plan to go to the Vatican due to the proximity of the canonization date to President Barack Obama’s visit on Monday.) Churches will remain open all night on Saturday for prayer vigils ahead of the Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday to honor two Roman Catholic leaders whose pontificates spanned from the height of the Cold War with the Cuban missile crisis to the fall of the Berlin Wall.READ MORE...

ALSO: Pope Francis makes John XXIII, John Paul II saints

APRIL 27 --VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has declared his two predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints in an unprecedented canonization ceremony made even more historic by the presence of retired Pope Benedict XVI. Francis recited the saint-making formula in Latin, saying that after deliberating, consulting and praying for divine assistance "we declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II be saints and we enroll them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole church." Benedict was sitting off to the side with other cardinals in St. Peter's Square during the rite at the start of Sunday's Mass. He and Francis briefly greeted one another after Francis arrived. Italy's interior minister said as many as 1 million people would be drawn to Rome for the extraordinary occurrence of two being canonized at a Mass on Sunday where two living popes pontiffs (Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) will be present. For such a momentous occasion, the ceremony was actually quite short and surprisingly straightforward, with the added benefit that the relics of the two new saints will be presented for universal veneration by the church for the first time. The rite was celebrated mostly in Latin, the official language of the Catholic Church. READ MORE...

ALSO: First at Vatican in 60 years

Pope John Paul II might have beatified more than a thousand martyrs and holy men and canonized almost 500 during his papacy but his canonization, along with that of Pope John XXIII on Sunday, will be only the first of a Pope in 60 years. Critics of the joint canonization said the process of creating saints, long and tedious under Vatican rules, should not have been fast-tracked. But Vatican officials, including the postulators, or chief proponents, of the cause for canonization of the two Popes, defended the decision to have them declared saints. Fr. Giovangiuseppe Califano, the postulator for John XXIII, said that Angelo Roncalli, as John XXIII was known before he became Pope, lived a holy life. The postulator for Pope John Paul II’s cause, Msgr. Slawomir Oder, argued that the Polish Karol Wojtyla was a man of heroic virtue. The last Pope to be canonized was Pius X, head of the Church from 1903 to 1914. He was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1954. Before Pius X, the only Pope to be canonized was another Pius, the Dominican Pius V, who was Pope in 1566-1572. Making up-- Pius V, who implemented the reforms of the Council of Trent and rallied Christian Europe against the Ottoman Turks in the Battle of Lepanto, was beatified in 1672 and canonized in 1712. Because of the long lapse of time, the joint canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II is seen as making up for lost time. “The beatification and canonization process of any candidate for sainthood is really long, especially for a Pope,” said Spanish Dominican historian Fidel Villarroel, who did the historical spade work to back up the beatification in 1981 and canonization in 1987 of San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila and other martyrs.

ALSO: Two Popes who would be saints

CHICAGO, Illinois — Two modern popes will be fast-tracked to sainthood by the Catholic Church this April 27– Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. Despite my being a Methodist, I feel an unspeakable joy in witnessing in our age the canonization of these two religious leaders whose papacies I’ve followed closely through news reports. When Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council on Oct. 11, 1962, I personally felt the change in our lives. Growing up as a Protestant in our hometown of Arayat, Pampanga, was difficult. There were only about seven families attending a small Methodist Church in our town where Catholic practices and traditions remained as described by Jose Rizal in his novels. The travails of a minority dawned upon us very darkly. The 50 years of American occupation, which brought in Methodism, did little to diminish the intolerance of those of the dominant faith.
Pope John XXIII’s actions had profound impact upon me as a student of architecture at the Pontifical University (UST). In the requirement for graduation in 1965, I had chosen to argue a thesis for an “Interfaith Center at the Mindanao State University.” The jury gave me a favorable verdict.READ MORE...


ALSO:
Relics of Blessed John XXIII to go on PHL tour

Starting this weekend, Filipino Catholics will get a chance to venerate the relics of Blessed John XXIII, who will be canonized along with Blessed John Paul II on Sunday. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines said a religious group has organized a nationwide tour of John XXIII's relics from April 25 to May 31. “While it is common knowledge that we Filipinos have a bias towards Pope John Paul II, who will also be canonized with him, as Catholics it is just as well that we learn as much as we can about the life and legacy of John XXIII,” event coordinator Brother Dave Dela Cruz said in an article posted Friday evening on the CBCP news site. John XXIII is not as popular as John Paul II in the Philippines. John Paul II got a warm welcome from Filipinos when he visited the Philippines in 1981 and 1995. Still, John XXIII is considered “The Good Pope” as he is credited for “opening up the Church to the modern world.” The CBCP said the Totus Tuus Tour schedule is as follows:
May 9 to 12: St. Joseph Parish in Upper Bicutan, Taguig City
May 13 to 16: Holy Cross Parish in Matingain, Lemery, Batangas
May 17 to 18: Holy Family Parish in Kamias, Quezon City
May 23 to 25: Santuario de San José in Greenhills, Mandaluyong City
May 26 to 30: Santa María de la Cabeza Mission Station in Barangay Mangoso, Sigma, Capiz
May 31 to June 1: St. Paul of the Cross Parish in Concepcion Dos, Marikina City. READ MORE...

ALSO: The Pope who loved the Filipino youth, family, and chocolate cake

The Filipino youth and the Filipino family have a special place in the heart of the late Pope John Paul II, who will be declared saint by Pope Francis in a double ceremony Sunday, April 27, in Rome. Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz, who was a personal friend of John Paul II, has fond memories with the most travelled pope in history – from the lunch they shared, the moments they prayed together, and the small talk they engaged in whenever the retired prelate was in Rome. Always, the late pope would ask Cruz how the Filipino youth and family are living the faith and he would recall the extraordinary welcome he had during his two papal visits. He also shared the one extravagance that John Paul indulged in – a big slice of cake oozing with chocolate filling for dessert. About 9 years after his death, the late pope, along with John XXIII, will be canonized in one of the fastest sainthood processes in history. To Cruz, it’s no surprise as he had always known – since John Paul’s death – that he would soon be declared among the champions of the Church and that the canonization “is but a formality.” READ MORE...


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24 heads of state in Rome for rites


PAPAL BLESSING Pope John Paul II celebrates Holy Mass to mark the close of World Youth Day during his second visit to the Philippines on Jan. 14, 1995. The crowd of 4 million who attended the Mass on the Philippine International Convention Center grounds was the biggest gathering in the Pontiff’s 16-year reign. Behind the Pope is Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin. The Inquirer has color enhanced the black-and-white photo taken by the late Inquirer photographer Roger Margallo.

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 28, 2014 (INQUIRER) Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will join the roster of saints at a historic Vatican ceremony on Sunday seen as an attempt to unite conservatives and reformists, with some 800,000 pilgrims expected in Rome.

The double canonization of two of modern-day Catholicism’s most influential figures will be presided over by Pope Francis and may be attended by his elderly predecessor Benedict XVI, bringing two living Pontiffs together to celebrate two deceased predecessors.

Delegations from 54 countries are expected, including 24 heads of state, as well as hundreds of thousands from across the world who will be able to follow the ceremonies in different languages on 19 giant screens in some of the Italian capital’s most picturesque spots.

(A Malacañang official said President Benigno Aquino III decided to forego any plan to go to the Vatican due to the proximity of the canonization date to President Barack Obama’s visit on Monday.)

Churches will remain open all night on Saturday for prayer vigils ahead of the Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday to honor two Roman Catholic leaders whose pontificates spanned from the height of the Cold War with the Cuban missile crisis to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Tapestry portraits of the new saints will hang high above the crowds and thousands of bishops, priests and scarlet-cloaked cardinals.

A piece of John XXIII’s skin, taken when his body was exhumed for his beatification in 2000, will be on show, alongside a vial of John Paul II’s blood.

The ceremony will be attended by Costa Rican Floribeth Mora, whose claim to have been healed from a brain aneurysm by praying for John Paul II’s intercession was accepted as one of the two “confirmed” miracles normally required for sainthood.

John Paul, who reigned from 1978 to 2005, was credited with performing another miracle just six months after his death, when a French nun said she had been cured, through prayer, of Parkinson’s—a debilitating disease from which he had also suffered.

Widely adored

Francis approved the canonization of John XXIII (1958-1963)—with whom he shares a kindly demeanor and reformist views—based on just one supposed miraculous healing, saying that the late Pope was so widely adored that he did not need a second one.

The unparalleled double ceremony is seen by Vatican watchers as an attempt to bridge a traditional left-right divide in the Church, but has drawn criticism from some who argue the canonization process was rushed.

Though becoming a saint is usually an expensive and lengthy process that can take decades, John Paul II’s elevation has been the fastest since the 18th century when the current canonization rules were installed.

Polish Karol Wojtyla was an immensely popular Pontiff with huge charisma, credited with helping bring down communism in eastern Europe. He was nicknamed the “Pilgrim Pope” for his globe-trotting which took him to 129 countries, clocking up 750,000 air miles (1.4 million kilometers).

He survived an assassination attempt in 1981 and his blood-stained clothing has been venerated by thousands in the run-up to the canonization.

But he alienated many left-wing Catholics with his conservative stance, particularly in Latin America, and has been blamed for hushing up child sex crimes that began to come to light during his pontificate.

He is accused of having protected “Legion of Christ” founder Fr. Marcial Maciel, a Mexican sexual predator and drug addict, who abused male seminarians as well as the children he fathered with different women.

‘Debatable decisions’

Vatican spokesperson Federico Lombardi has strenuously denied John Paul II knew about the abuse and has brushed off critics, saying “being a saint does not mean having done everything perfectly all one’s life.”

Asked about the crackdown on the leftist liberation theology movement, which was seen by conservatives as being “Marxist,” Lombardi admitted that “some debatable decisions” were taken during John Paul II’s reign.

Fellow saint-to-be “Good Pope John,” born Angelo Roncalli, made his name by calling the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which overhauled the Church’s rituals and doctrines and reached out to other faiths.

When he was the Vatican envoy to Turkey he was credited with saving thousands of Jews during World War II.

Cinemas across the world

Devotees are expected to flock to see his body in the Vatican, where he lies in a glass coffin.

Access to the ceremony itself will only begin in the early hours of Sunday, with crowds of faithful—many of them from Poland—expected to arrive by plane, train and boat overnight, before settling down with sleeping bags on the square to ensure a good view.

The Vatican’s official bureau for pilgrims said 4,000 coaches bearing pilgrims would be arriving in the run-up to the 10 a.m. Mass (4 p.m. in Manila), while other faithful will watch the canonization in 3-D at cinemas across the world, from Argentina to the United States. AFP

FROM PHILSTAR

Pope Francis makes John XXIII, John Paul II saints By Nicole Weinfield (Associated Press) | Updated April 27, 2014 - 4:33pm 7 28 googleplus1 0


Polish pilgrims hold a flag portraying Pope John Paul II during a vigil prayer in the Sant'Agnese in Agone church in piazza Navona, Rome, Saturday, April 26, 2014, on the eve of the canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII scheduled at the Vatican. AP/Riccardo de Luca

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has declared his two predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints in an unprecedented canonization ceremony made even more historic by the presence of retired Pope Benedict XVI.

Francis recited the saint-making formula in Latin, saying that after deliberating, consulting and praying for divine assistance "we declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II be saints and we enroll them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole church."

Benedict was sitting off to the side with other cardinals in St. Peter's Square during the rite at the start of Sunday's Mass. He and Francis briefly greeted one another after Francis arrived.

LIVE coverage and video: Canonization of two popes

Italy's interior minister said as many as 1 million people would be drawn to Rome for the extraordinary occurrence of two being canonized at a Mass on Sunday where two living popes pontiffs (Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) will be present.

For such a momentous occasion, the ceremony was actually quite short and surprisingly straightforward, with the added benefit that the relics of the two new saints will be presented for universal veneration by the church for the first time. The rite was celebrated mostly in Latin, the official language of the Catholic Church.

The preliminary part of the ceremony began at around 0700 GMT with prayers, hymns and culminates with the chanting of the hypnotic Litany of Saints, the roll call of the church's saints, each one followed by the refrain "Ora pro nobis," or "Pray for us."

After Pope Francis and concelebrants processed to the altar, the canonization rite began immediately.

The head of the Vatican's saint-making office, Cardinal Angelo Amato, asks the pope three separate times to include John XXIII and John Paul II among the saints. In the rite for beatification, there is only one such petition. The three repeated requests for canonization "signify the importance of this celebration," noted the Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi.

Pope Francis answered: "For the honor 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 our 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 XXIII and John Paul II be saints and we enroll them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole church. In the name of the Holy Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

Relics of the two new saints were then brought to the altar. In the case of John Paul, the same relic — his blood — used for his 2011 beatification is being used. For John XXIII, a small piece of skin taken after his body was exhumed for his 2000 beatification is being used. Relics — the physical remains of a new saint or things he or she touched in life — are used to help the faithful venerate.

Amato then thanked Francis and asked him to draw up an official document attesting to the canonization. Francis responded "We so decree" and the rite ends with the singing of the "Gloria."

The Mass then proceeded as usual.

The Vatican said Saturday that Francis would preside over the Mass and Benedict would concelebrate along with 150 cardinals and 700 bishops. It's the first time Benedict has joined Francis in celebrating Mass in public since his resignation in 2013. Benedict attended the February ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica in which Francis installed 19 new cardinals, but as a spectator.

About 600 priests would distribute Communion in St. Peter's Square and 210 deacons will distribute Communion to the throngs of people expected to line up along Via della Conciliazione, the main boulevard leading away from the square.

Ninety three official delegations attending, including an estimated 24 heads of state. The kings and queens of Belgium and Spain attended, as did royals from Andorra, Britain and Luxemburg. Poland sent one of the largest delegations with the current president and two former presidents, including Lech Walesa, founder of the Solidarity movement that toppled communism in Poland, which John Paul supported.

About 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Argentina, Poland and Rome were also in attendance.

First at Vatican in 60 years By Lito B. Zulueta Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:34 am | Friday, April 25th, 2014

A poster showing Pope Francis middle pope John Paul II (L) and Pope John XXIII (R), that will be canonized next Sunday, is seen in Borgo Pio street near the Vatican during the pontiff weekly general audience in St. Peter’s square on April 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI

ROME—Pope John Paul II might have beatified more than a thousand martyrs and holy men and canonized almost 500 during his papacy but his canonization, along with that of Pope John XXIII on Sunday, will be only the first of a Pope in 60 years.

Critics of the joint canonization said the process of creating saints, long and tedious under Vatican rules, should not have been fast-tracked. But Vatican officials, including the postulators, or chief proponents, of the cause for canonization of the two Popes, defended the decision to have them declared saints.

Fr. Giovangiuseppe Califano, the postulator for John XXIII, said that Angelo Roncalli, as John XXIII was known before he became Pope, lived a holy life.

The postulator for Pope John Paul II’s cause, Msgr. Slawomir Oder, argued that the Polish Karol Wojtyla was a man of heroic virtue.

The last Pope to be canonized was Pius X, head of the Church from 1903 to 1914. He was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1954.

Before Pius X, the only Pope to be canonized was another Pius, the Dominican Pius V, who was Pope in 1566-1572.

Making up

Pius V, who implemented the reforms of the Council of Trent and rallied Christian Europe against the Ottoman Turks in the Battle of Lepanto, was beatified in 1672 and canonized in 1712.

Because of the long lapse of time, the joint canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II is seen as making up for lost time.

“The beatification and canonization process of any candidate for sainthood is really long, especially for a Pope,” said Spanish Dominican historian Fidel Villarroel, who did the historical spade work to back up the beatification in 1981 and canonization in 1987 of San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila and other martyrs.

John Paul II himself beatified Ruiz and his fellow martyrs in Manila, the first beatification outside Rome in history.

When the most prolific saint-maker of popes, as well as John XXIII, who convoked the historic Second Vatican Council in 1962, are proclaimed saints on Sunday, they will become only among five Popes to be canonized in almost a millennium.

Before the second millennium, most bishops of Rome were regarded as saints. Of the 265 Popes before the incumbent Pope Francis, 81 were regarded as saints by the Church.

Of the 81, 48 were regarded as successors of St. Peter and they were all martyred, considered a sure sign of divine election.

The rest died before 1100.

Hermit canonized

In fact, the first Pope to be canonized in the second millennium before Pius V was Celestine V, a hermit who abdicated in 1294 and became known to the new century when his case was compared with that of Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned last year due to old age.

Celestine V was declared a saint in 1313, some 250 years before the creation of the Congregation of Rites that formulated the modern selection process of blesseds and saints.

The systematization of the canonization process means any candidate for sainthood will pass through the wringer. The process could take ages.

‘Contemporary relevance’

So strict was the process that in 1963, during the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens of Belgium, a leader of the progressive faction, asked that the process be expedited to provide Catholics with “contemporary examples” of sanctity, rather than canonize those of previous centuries who could hardly be relevant for the faithful in the modern age.

Since he was a friend of John XXIII, Suenens, in the opinion of many, was pointing to the Pope as a “contemporary example” of holiness.

In fact, in the immediate aftermath of John XXIII’s death in 1963, there was a movement to canonize him by acclamation of the Second Vatican Council.

Although that didn’t happen, Paul VI opened the beatification process of his predecessor in 1965, and John XXIII—called “the good Pope”—was declared Venerable in 1999 and beatified by John Paul II in 2000.

A miracle is needed for a beatified person to be declared a saint, but Pope Francis waived the requirement in the case of John XXIII.

Beneficiary

In a way, John XXIII was a beneficiary of the movement in the extraordinary ecumenical council he had convoked of fast-tracking the process of creating saints to provide modern men and women with examples of holiness.

There were also popular appeals for John Paul II to be declared a saint immediately after his death in 2005.

“Santo Subito! Santo Subito!” (Make him a saint immediately!)” roared the crowd gathered for his requiem Mass on St. Peter’s Square on April 8, 2005.

But the saint-making process was observed by his successor and good friend, Benedict XVI, hailed as the greatest theologian among Popes in the last two centuries.

In 2011, the Congregation of Rites attributed the miraculous curing of a boy with cancer to the late Pope after the patient had visited his tomb, so that Pope Benedict beatified his immediate predecessor.

Beatification vs canonization

Beatification, explained Father Villarroel, permits limited veneration of a person who had been martyred for the faith or had lived a very holy life.

In contrast, a martyr or a holy person declared a “beato” (blessed) must have a miracle attributed to him to qualify for canonization.

In 2013, a Vatican commission of doctors said the sudden recovery of a woman from terminal brain aneurysm immediately after John Paul II’s beatification in 2011 had “no medical explanation,” and the case became the second miracle needed for John Paul II to qualify for canonization.

Pope Francis immediately approved the bull of canonization and declared both John XXIII and John Paul II would be jointly raised to the honors of the altar.

Joint canonization defended

In the Vatican, officials defended the decision to canonize against detractors, who said a second miracle was needed for John XXIII and who criticized him for calling the Second Vatican Council, which some felt was too liberal and too uncritical of modernity.

Other critics said John Paul II should not be canonized because he pushed back the reforms of the council and shabbily handled the child abuse cases that engulfed the Church toward the last years of his papacy.

Fr. Califano, the postulator for John XXIII, said that as a 15-year-old seminarian, Angelo Roncalli was already making resolutions that were intended to help him become a saint.

He said John’s papacy was characterized by a deep humility and he was both a shepherd and a father.

Roncalli, he said, opened new horizons by convening the Second Vatican Council and was a capable communicator who, by using simple every day expressions, succeeded in entering into the hearts of people.

Califano explained how the words “obedience and peace” were not just Roncalli’s episcopal motto but were at the root of his sainthood, characterizing his life at the service of the Church.

Profound mysticism

The postulator for John Paul II’s cause, Msgr. Oder, spoke of how the friends of Karol Wojtyla described him as a “future saint” because of his prayer habits and his reflections on the value of life.

Oder said John Paul II’s profound mysticism encouraged him to personally live out the mystery of God in his own life.
“Man of God,” Oder said, is the word that characterizes a saint and this applies to Wojtyla.

“He was a man who found the source of his life in God . Prayer for Karol Wojtyla was his air, his water and his daily bread,” he said.

Two Popes who would be saints By Mariano “Anong” Santos PINOY Newsmagazine/INQUIRER.net News Partner 6:23 am | Friday, April 18th, 2014


Pope John Paul II

CHICAGO, Illinois — Two modern popes will be fast-tracked to sainthood by the Catholic Church this April 27– Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.

Despite my being a Methodist, I feel an unspeakable joy in witnessing in our age the canonization of these two religious leaders whose papacies I’ve followed closely through news reports.

When Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council on Oct. 11, 1962, I personally felt the change in our lives.

Growing up as a Protestant in our hometown of Arayat, Pampanga, was difficult. There were only about seven families attending a small Methodist Church in our town where Catholic practices and traditions remained as described by Jose Rizal in his novels.

The travails of a minority dawned upon us very darkly. The 50 years of American occupation, which brought in Methodism, did little to diminish the intolerance of those of the dominant faith.

Pope John XXIII’s actions had profound impact upon me as a student of architecture at the Pontifical University (UST). In the requirement for graduation in 1965, I had chosen to argue a thesis for an “Interfaith Center at the Mindanao State University.” The jury gave me a favorable verdict.

Ecumenism

I savored films like “Lilies of the Fields,” which won the Best Picture Oscar Award of 1963 plus the Best Actor Award for Sidney Poitier who played a black (Baptist) handyman who helped six German nuns build a chapel in a desert in Arizona.

The Second Vatican Council brought changes like the Mass being celebrated in languages understood by the faithful.

(Contrary to common belief, John XXIII actually preferred Latin, but he deferred to the majority of the Ecumenical Council who recommended the change. Who said the Church was undemocratic?)

Wikipedia narrates the following:


Pope John XXIII

“Unlike previous councils, it was unique as it did not issue any new dogmas, declare any anathemas, or settled any grave heresies prevailing that time. Instead, the council became ideally known for its renewal of Catholic doctrine in a modern timeline and perspective.

Several institutional changes resulted from the council, such as the renewal of consecrated life with a revised charism, and ecumenical efforts towards dialogue with other religions, the notion of the Catholic Church alone brings through ultimate salvation to mankind, and the expressive participation of laity in various religious activities.

The most palpable change of the council was the widespread use of vernacular language in Holy Mass instead of the Latin language.

“Of those who took part in the council’s opening session, four have become pontiffs to date: Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini, who on succeeding Pope John XXIII took the name of Paul VI; Bishop Albino Luciani, the future Pope John Paul I; Bishop Karol Wojtyła, who became Pope John Paul II; and Father Joseph Ratzinger, present as a theological consultant, who became Pope Benedict XVI.”

First Pope to Visit Chicago

Fast forward to Oct. 5, 1979. For 40 hours, the Windy City was frenzied with excitement. The first Polish Pope was visiting Chicago where the biggest Catholic Polish population outside Warsaw was said to be residing. Additionally, John Paul II would be the first pope to ever visit the city.

Even my employer then, Sargent & Lundy, dismissed us early so we could join the 200,000 who eventually showed up at Grant Park to see the pope celebrate mass. It was my first time to see a Catholic Vicar of Christ in person—if only from a distance. (The second time was when I saw Pope Benedict VI riding the pope mobile at the St. Peter Square in Rome five years ago. He abdicated last year to pave the way to Pope Francis—the first one to come from Latin America.)

In his homily before the biggest Mass ever assembled in Chicago in 1979, John Paul II said, “Looking at you, I see people who have thrown their destinies together and now write a common history . . . This is the way America was conceived; this is what she was called to be . . . But there is another reality that I see when I look at you . . . your unity as members of the People of God.”

These are historic events and memorable words that resonate into the present—testimony to an event this month that is soon to come to pass, events and words that are beacons on our journey into the future.

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Relics of Blessed John XXIII to go on PHL tour too April 25, 2014 8:58pm 9 3 0 28 Tags:


The relics of Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John Paul XXIII are displayed at the mezzanine of GMA Network Center in Quezon City on Friday, April 25, before a Mass. Joe Galvez

Starting this weekend, Filipino Catholics will get a chance to venerate the relics of Blessed John XXIII, who will be canonized along with Blessed John Paul II on Sunday.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines said a religious group has organized a nationwide tour of John XXIII's relics from April 25 to May 31.

“While it is common knowledge that we Filipinos have a bias towards Pope John Paul II, who will also be canonized with him, as Catholics it is just as well that we learn as much as we can about the life and legacy of John XXIII,” event coordinator Brother Dave Dela Cruz said in an article posted Friday evening on the CBCP news site.

John XXIII is not as popular as John Paul II in the Philippines. John Paul II got a warm welcome from Filipinos when he visited the Philippines in 1981 and 1995.

Still, John XXIII is considered “The Good Pope” as he is credited for “opening up the Church to the modern world.”

John XXIII also allowed for greater participation of the laity in the affairs of the Church, making the Church what it is now. “He is a giant in his own right,” dela Cruz said.

On Friday, the relics of both candidates for sainthood were brought to the GMA Network Center in Quezon City.

Dela Cruz said John XXIII’s relics arrived in the country from Rome Wednesday night, just in time for the double canonization on April 27.

“One aim of this relic viewing is to enable Filipino Catholics to feel the holy presence of John XXIII. Let’s face it: We can’t afford to personally go to the Vatican for the canonization, that’s why through the Totus Tuus Tour we more or less brought the pope to be canonized to our countrymen,” he said.

The CBCP said John XXIII's relics in the tour include a piece of the funeral cassock which the Pope was wearing when he was buried in 1963.

"But it is doubly special because the cloth is drenched in the pontiff’s bodily fluids, making it a first-class relic," the CBCP added.

It also said the faithful can see one of the commemorative medals John XXIII gave as a souvenir to the participants of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).

The CBCP said the Totus Tuus Tour schedule is as follows:
May 9 to 12: St. Joseph Parish in Upper Bicutan, Taguig City
May 13 to 16: Holy Cross Parish in Matingain, Lemery, Batangas
May 17 to 18: Holy Family Parish in Kamias, Quezon City
May 23 to 25: Santuario de San José in Greenhills, Mandaluyong City
May 26 to 30: Santa María de la Cabeza Mission Station in Barangay Mangoso, Sigma, Capiz
May 31 to June 1: St. Paul of the Cross Parish in Concepcion Dos, Marikina City — Joel Locsin/JDS, GMA News

FROM THE RAPPLER.COM

The Pope who loved the Filipino youth, family, and chocolate cake Aries C. Rufo Published 9:24 PM, Apr 26, 2014 Updated 9:24 PM, Apr 26, 2014

Always, the late pope would ask Archbishop Cruz how the Filipino youth and family are living the faith and would recall the extraordinary welcome he had during his papal visits


POPE JOHN PAUL II. The joint sanctification of popes John Paul II and John XXIII is expected to draw up to 1 million pilgrims and tourists to Rome this weekend. Photo by Ritchie B Tongco/EPAPOPE JOHN PAUL II. The joint sanctification of popes John Paul II and John XXIII is expected to draw up to 1 million pilgrims and tourists to Rome this weekend. Photo by Ritchie B Tongco/EPA

MANILA, Philippines – The Filipino youth and the Filipino family have a special place in the heart of the late Pope John Paul II, who will be declared saint by Pope Francis in a double ceremony Sunday, April 27, in Rome.

Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz, who was a personal friend of John Paul II, has fond memories with the most travelled pope in history – from the lunch they shared, the moments they prayed together, and the small talk they engaged in whenever the retired prelate was in Rome.

Always, the late pope would ask Cruz how the Filipino youth and family are living the faith and he would recall the extraordinary welcome he had during his two papal visits.

He also shared the one extravagance that John Paul indulged in – a big slice of cake oozing with chocolate filling for dessert.

About 9 years after his death, the late pope, along with John XXIII, will be canonized in one of the fastest sainthood processes in history.

To Cruz, it’s no surprise as he had always known – since John Paul’s death – that he would soon be declared among the champions of the Church and that the canonization “is but a formality.”

Man of prayer

A simple man of God, John Paul spent a lot of his time praying that, others who were invited to join him in meals often ended up hungrier than ever.

“He prayed a lot, he prayed and prayed. He would invite us to pray before lunch and after lunch. Those moments of prayer would last for half an hour and many guests, including I, would be so hungry by the time we had our meals,” Cruz said.

Whenever he was in Rome, Cruz said, the late pope would invite him for lunch and ask him to sit at his right side. The late pope had a hearing problem with his left ear, and Cruz said, this may have been the reason for his request.

Without fail, lunch always consisted of plain lettuce salad without fancy sauces. “There were condiments on the table, like vinegar, oil, or salt. It is up to you to spice up your lettuce. Of course, we had bread.”

Thinnest steak, chocolate cake

The main course was steak “but it is the thinnest one you can find in Rome,” Cruz said. So much so that there was an ongoing joke among the bishops – that they were not allowed to sneeze when having the main course. “The steak might fly away if you sneeze,” Cruz said.

John Paul loved good and lengthy conversations during meals, and guests were well advised to chew their food slowly. “Infallibly, he would always ask me about the Filipino youth and the Filipino family, and tell the others that he had memorable visits here in the Philippines.” The pontiff visited to the country twice, in February 1981 and in 1995, coinciding with the celebration of World Youth Day.

The main course, however, was not the main event. Actually, the most awaited part of the meal was a huge, 3-layered chocolate cake baked by an old Polish nun, so heavy it created a loud sound when finally laid on the table. “He would take a big slice and take his time consuming it. If that’s human weakness, then that’s his only extravagance,” Cruz said.

As always, the late pope would invite them again to pray in his private chapel. “By the time we’re finished praying with him, some of us were hungry again.”

Cruz said that when John Paul visited the country in 1995, he made sure that he got his chocolate cake for dessert. “When he had a meeting with the Asian bishops at the San Carlos seminary, I made sure he got his 3-layered chocolate cake.”

Stunned silence

The retired prelate was also in Rome when an assassin attempted to assassinate John Paul in May 1981 in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican City. Bishops from all over the world were in Rome at the time for a meeting, and the Pope excused himself to greet the crowd in St Peter’s Square.

When word reached the bishops that John Paul was shot, “we were all silent and quiet for 10 minutes.” Then when they were told that he was going to survive, everybody started packing up to return to their respective quarters or to go home.

Just as they were preparing to leave, a small note was passed on to the bishops that they should stay put. “You were not the one shot. Continue with the meeting,” the note said.

A few years later, Cruz was also in Rome when the late pontiff slipped as he was getting out of the bath tub and broke his hip. “I thought I might be a jinx, why these things were happening to the Pope while I was in Rome,” Cruz jokingly said.

Invisible circle

In his personal meetings with the late pontiff, Cruz observed that he had an invisible circle, as if a barrier put a distance between the Pope and anyone else. “This is my personal observation. Whenever I see him, or kiss his hand, I feel this circle around him that pushes one out,” Cruz said.

“It is as if nobody can enter that circle, which I presume, if I think about it, was a personal space between him and God,” Cruz said.

One time, Cruz mentioned this to the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin. “I told the Cardinal, how come you do not have that circle? And the cardinal replied: 'You do not have it also!'”

Loved and beloved

When the beloved pontiff died in 2005, Cruz felt that it would only be a matter of time before he joined the catalogue of saints in heaven. His canonization on Sunday “is but a complementary of what I have felt and known since his death. I considered him a saint at the time of his death.”

His observations were validated whenever he went to Rome and paid tribute at the tomb of John Paul at St Peter’s Altar. “Other popes were also interred there. But you will see that at any given time, his tomb is always filled with flowers and candles.”

Cruz said that with his canonization, John Paul can now be venerated by Catholics but that he had been doing that way ahead of everyone. “I have this photo of him and I kiss his image whenever I pray,” Cruz said. – Rappler.com


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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