VATICAN TURNS TO SOCIAL MEDIA FOR DOUBLE POPE SAINTHOOD

The Vatican is turning to social media to reach out to the millions of pilgrims expected to attend the first double canonization in the history of the Catholic Church. Rome city officials expect up to five million people to attend the ceremony officially making John Paul II, who led the Catholic Church from 1978-2005, and John XXIII, who was pope from 1958-1963, into saints. Besides the www.2papisanti.org official website, the Vatican has set up several Facebook pages using the 2popesaints theme, as well as accounts on Twitter (@2popesaints), Youtube (2popesaints) and Instagram (#2popesaints). Spokesman of the Holy See, Father Federico Lombardi, did not rule out that the current Pope Benedict XVI would attend the ceremony on April 27 in St Peter's Square in person. And while he gave no definite forecast for the number of attendees -- pegged as high as 7 million by some Italian media -- he said that all pilgrims to come to the Holy See would be welcome. "No tickets will be sold. Don't ask the prefecture as there will be none," he joked. The double canonization will be the first in the Vatican's history and is expected to appeal to both wings of the Church.

ALSO: Popes John Paul II, John XXIII canonized April 27, 2014

Francis had announced in July he would canonize two of the 20th century's most influential popes together, approving a miracle attributed to John Paul's intercession and bending Vatican rules by deciding that John XXIII didn't need a second one to be canonized. Analysts have said the decision to canonize them together was aimed at unifying the church, since each pope has his admirers and critics. Francis is clearly a fan of both: On the anniversary of John Paul's death this year, Francis prayed at the tombs of both men an indication that he sees a great personal and spiritual continuity in them. Both popes are also closely identified with the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that brought the Catholic Church into modern times, an indication that Francis clearly wants to make a statement about the council's role in shaping the church today. A spokesman for Poland's bishops' conference, the Rev. Jozef Kloch, said the dual canonizations would stress the fact that John Paul II continued the ideas introduced by John XXIII, who called Vatican II. Originally, the canonization was expected to have taken place Dec. 8. But Polish bishops complained that a December date would make it difficult for Polish pilgrims to come to the Vatican by bus along snowy, icy roads. As a result, the first Sunday after Easter was chosen instead a feast day established by John Paul himself. It was on that same feast day Divine Mercy Sunday that John Paul was beatified in 2011, drawing 1.5 million pilgrims to Rome. John Paul made Jorge Mario Bergoglio the current Pope Francis a cardinal. Francis' immense popular appeal has also been likened to that of John XXIII, dubbed the "good pope." John XXIII reigned from 1958 to 1963.

ALSO: Vatican plans social media celebration of popes' sainthood

The last time a Roman Catholic pontiff was made a saint, television news was in its infancy and the coverage from St Peter's Square was resolutely black, white and grainy. Sixty years on from the canonisation of Pope Pius X, two of his successors are to follow in his footsteps and the church is keen to show that, in the sphere of communications at least, it has changed with the times. People around the world wanting to follow the twin canonisations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II on 27 April will be able to do so via a multi-faceted "digital platform", said Monsignor Walter Insero on Monday. As well as a website which is still under construction and will be available in five languages there will be a Twitter handle (@2popesaints), smartphone app, Facebook page and YouTube channel. Insero said other social media sites including Instagram and Storify would also be used to communicate the event to young people effectively. Insero said the importance of media coverage had been illustrated in 2011 when a Costa Rican woman, Floribeth Mora Diaz, watched the beatification of John Paul II on television. Mora, who had been diagnosed with a brain aneurysm, went on to recover and the church declared her case to be the second miracle attributed to the Polish pope, who died in 2005. The first concerned Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, a French nun who staged an astonishing recovery from a 2001 diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. The Vatican is not putting a figure on the number of people it expects to come to Rome for the twin canonisation, but estimates from city officials have reached into the millions. On Monday the Vatican announced that churches in the centre of the Italian capital would stay open the night before the ceremony for a prayer vigil. However, perhaps in a sign of the current pope's influence, it stressed that the nature of the event was spiritual not extravagant, and that costly side events would be avoided. "It is essentially a spiritual message because it is a celebration of sainthood," said Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of Rome. "The thread that ties these two pontificates is faith."

ALSO: Vatican Radio digitises archive of popes' voices Clips available online include Pius XII's eve of war address and Benedict XVI's unprecedented 2013 resignation speech

The voices of popes from as early as 1884 will be able to be heard after the digitisation of 8,000 tapes from the pontifical archives of Vatican Radio. The Vatican initiative is part of preparations for the sainting of John Paul II and John XXIII (1958-63) on 17 April the first double papal canonisation ceremony in Church history. "This way, the popes remain among us thanks to their voices," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said. Radio Vatican has stored recordings since it was set up under pope Pius XI in 1931, but it has also older recordings, such as Leo XIII's Humanum Genus encyclical, which the pontiff recorded on a dictaphone in 1884. Some of the clips in the online collection capture historic moments, such as Pius XII's speech in August 1939 calling for restraint on the eve of the second world war, saying: "The danger is imminent, but there is still time. Nothing is lost with peace, all can be lost with war!" People can listen to John XXIII's impromptu 1962 "Speech to the Moon" in St Peter's Square, where he told the masses: "When you head home, find your children. Hug and kiss your children and tell them 'This is the hug and kiss of the pope'".


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Vatican turns to social media for double Pope sainthood ceremony


Pope Francis calls the Internet a 'gift from God'

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 7, 2014 (GMA NEWS NETWORK) The Vatican is turning to social media to reach out to the millions of pilgrims expected to attend the first double canonization in the history of the Catholic Church.

Rome city officials expect up to five million people to attend the ceremony officially making John Paul II, who led the Catholic Church from 1978-2005, and John XXIII, who was pope from 1958-1963, into saints.

Besides the www.2papisanti.org official website, the Vatican has set up several Facebook pages using the 2popesaints theme, as well as accounts on Twitter (@2popesaints), Youtube (2popesaints) and Instagram (#2popesaints).

Spokesman of the Holy See, Father Federico Lombardi, did not rule out that the current Pope Benedict XVI would attend the ceremony on April 27 in St Peter's Square in person.

And while he gave no definite forecast for the number of attendees -- pegged as high as 7 million by some Italian media -- he said that all pilgrims to come to the Holy See would be welcome.

"No tickets will be sold. Don't ask the prefecture as there will be none," he joked.

The double canonization will be the first in the Vatican's history and is expected to appeal to both wings of the Church.

John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope for more than 400 years, was a favorite of conservative Catholics and his canonization will be one of the fastest in recent history.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from various European countries are expected to attend, especially from his native Poland, and many hotels in Rome are already booked out.

John XXIII is also widely admired by the Church's progressive wing for calling the Second Vatican Council that transformed the Church.

A "white night of prayer" will be held in seven languages in eleven churches the night before the ceremony.

"A common thread connects the two popes, their faith," noted Cardinal Vicar of Rome, Agostino Vallini. Agence France-Presse

EARLIER NEWS FROM CBC CANADA

Popes John Paul II, John XXIII canonized April 27 The Associated Press Posted: Sep 30, 2013 9:12 AM ET Last Updated: Sep 30, 2013 3:34 PM ET


In this file photo from 1997, Pope John Paul II waves to the faithful as he crosses St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be declared saints on April 27, 2014, Pope Francis announced Monday. (The Associated Press)

Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be declared saints on April 27, 2014, at a ceremony that might see two living popes honouring two dead ones.

The Vatican on Monday said retired Pope Benedict XVI might join Pope Francis in the saint-making ceremony for their predecessors, noting that there was no reason why Benedict should have to watch the ceremony on TV.

"There's no reason either doctrinal or institutional that he couldn't participate in a public ceremony," the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi said. "I don't have any reason to exclude it."

He noted there was still time before the ceremony and that Benedict was free to decide what to do.

Benedict, who became the first pope in 600 years to retire when he stepped down in February, had said he would spend his final days "hidden from the world" in the Vatican monastery.

But he has taken on a more public profile recently, writing a letter to an Italian atheist that was published last week in Italy's La Repubblica newspaper and appearing with Francis over the summer at a ceremony to unveil a Vatican statue.


In this 1963 file photo, Pope John XXIII is wearing his "Camauro", a red velvet cap, in his private library at the Vatican. He, along with Pope John Paul II, will be canonized April 27, 2014. (The Associated Press)

Francis had announced in July he would canonize two of the 20th century's most influential popes together, approving a miracle attributed to John Paul's intercession and bending Vatican rules by deciding that John XXIII didn't need a second one to be canonized.

Analysts have said the decision to canonize them together was aimed at unifying the church, since each pope has his admirers and critics. Francis is clearly a fan of both: On the anniversary of John Paul's death this year, Francis prayed at the tombs of both men an indication that he sees a great personal and spiritual continuity in them.

Both popes are also closely identified with the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that brought the Catholic Church into modern times, an indication that Francis clearly wants to make a statement about the council's role in shaping the church today.

A spokesman for Poland's bishops' conference, the Rev. Jozef Kloch, said the dual canonizations would stress the fact that John Paul II continued the ideas introduced by John XXIII, who called Vatican II.

Originally, the canonization was expected to have taken place Dec. 8. But Polish bishops complained that a December date would make it difficult for Polish pilgrims to come to the Vatican by bus along snowy, icy roads. As a result, the first Sunday after Easter was chosen instead a feast day established by John Paul himself.

It was on that same feast day Divine Mercy Sunday that John Paul was beatified in 2011, drawing 1.5 million pilgrims to Rome.

John Paul made Jorge Mario Bergoglio the current Pope Francis a cardinal. Francis' immense popular appeal has also been likened to that of John XXIII, dubbed the "good pope." John XXIII reigned from 1958 to 1963.

FROM THE GUARDIAN UK

Vatican plans social media celebration of popes' sainthood Lizzy Davies in Rome theguardian.com, Monday 31 March 2014 18.18 BST


Website, smartphone app and Facebook page being set up for canonisation of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II: Photo-Pope leads general audience at Vatican. Crowd captures Pope Francis on their mobile devices as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square


Pope John Paul II in 2004. Photograph: Pier Paolo Cito/AP

The last time a Roman Catholic pontiff was made a saint, television news was in its infancy and the coverage from St Peter's Square was resolutely black, white and grainy.

Sixty years on from the canonisation of Pope Pius X, two of his successors are to follow in his footsteps and the church is keen to show that, in the sphere of communications at least, it has changed with the times.

People around the world wanting to follow the twin canonisations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II on 27 April will be able to do so via a multi-faceted "digital platform", said Monsignor Walter Insero on Monday.

As well as a website which is still under construction and will be available in five languages there will be a Twitter handle (@2popesaints), smartphone app, Facebook page and YouTube channel. Insero said other social media sites including Instagram and Storify would also be used to communicate the event to young people effectively.

Insero said the importance of media coverage had been illustrated in 2011 when a Costa Rican woman, Floribeth Mora Diaz, watched the beatification of John Paul II on television. Mora, who had been diagnosed with a brain aneurysm, went on to recover and the church declared her case to be the second miracle attributed to the Polish pope, who died in 2005. The first concerned Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, a French nun who staged an astonishing recovery from a 2001 diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

The Vatican is not putting a figure on the number of people it expects to come to Rome for the twin canonisation, but estimates from city officials have reached into the millions.

On Monday the Vatican announced that churches in the centre of the Italian capital would stay open the night before the ceremony for a prayer vigil. However, perhaps in a sign of the current pope's influence, it stressed that the nature of the event was spiritual not extravagant, and that costly side events would be avoided.

"It is essentially a spiritual message because it is a celebration of sainthood," said Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of Rome. "The thread that ties these two pontificates is faith."

In Bergamo, the northern Italian province where John XXIII was born, the church will mark the canonisations with a charity drive. Monsignor Giulio Dellavite said priests would be invited to donate a month's wages to a fund for struggling families.

In Rome, meanwhile, the signs are that local hotel owners are looking on the canonisations more as an opportunity to make money rather than to give it up. The travel website Trivago said last week that the price of an average hotel room for the night of 26 April was up 63% on last year.

Vatican Radio digitises archive of popes' voices Clips available online include Pius XII's eve of war address and Benedict XVI's unprecedented 2013 resignation speech  AFP theguardian.com, Tuesday 1 April 2014 15.49 BST


Pope Pius XII (1876-1958) in his office in Vatican City: 'Nothing is lost with peace, all can be lost with war!' Photograph: Str/EPA

The voices of popes from as early as 1884 will be able to be heard after the digitisation of 8,000 tapes from the pontifical archives of Vatican Radio.

The Vatican initiative is part of preparations for the sainting of John Paul II and John XXIII (1958-63) on 17 April the first double papal canonisation ceremony in Church history.

"This way, the popes remain among us thanks to their voices," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

Radio Vatican has stored recordings since it was set up under pope Pius XI in 1931, but it has also older recordings, such as Leo XIII's Humanum Genus encyclical, which the pontiff recorded on a dictaphone in 1884.

Some of the clips in the online collection capture historic moments, such as Pius XII's speech in August 1939 calling for restraint on the eve of the second world war, saying: "The danger is imminent, but there is still time. Nothing is lost with peace, all can be lost with war!"

People can listen to John XXIII's impromptu 1962 "Speech to the Moon" in St Peter's Square, where he told the masses: "When you head home, find your children. Hug and kiss your children and tell them 'This is the hug and kiss of the pope'".

There are also Paul VI's anguished words following the kidnapping and murder of the Italian prime minister Aldo Moro in May 1978, culminating in his public address to God: "You did not grant our plea for the safety of Aldo Moro, of this good and gentle man who was my friend."

John Paul II's emotionally charged attack in 1993 on the mafia's "culture of death" following a spate of high-profile killings can be listened to again, as can Benedict XVI's 2013 resignation speech, where he said he "will simply be a pilgrim starting the last phase of his pilgrimage on this earth".


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