John XXIII and John Paul II are saints

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Jorge Mario Bergoglio canonized the two Popes during a solemn mass in St. Peter’s Square after embracing Benedict XVI. The crowd broke into applause when the Pope Emeritus made his appearance.

“Beatos Ioannem XXIII et Ioannem Paulum II Sancots esse decernimus et definimus, ac Sanctorum Catalogo adscribimus…”. Pope Francis proclaimed John XXIII and John Paul II saints at 10:15 this morning. The crowd of faithful fell silent under the drizzle that fell over St. Peter’s Square. The Prefect of the Congregation of Saints Cardinal Angelo Amato stressed the importance of this decision to the Pope three times, with a series of petitio, requesting the canonization of his two predecessors. "To the honour of the Most Holy and Indivisible Trinity, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith and for the spread of the Christian religion, by the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul and by Our own, after mature deliberation and having often implored the Divine Assistance, on the advice of our venerable brethren the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, the Patriarchs, Archbishops and Bishops, We define and declare the Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II Saints, and We enrol her in the Catalogue of Saints, establishing that throughout the Church they be devoutly honoured among the Saints,” Francis pronounced. The crowd broke into a wave of applause which stretched across to the Castel Sant’Angelo gardens and the Tiber bridges.

The two Popes are saints and two more Popes were present in St. Peter’s Square in front of the Vatican Basilica. Benedict XVI arrived shortly before the mass, dressed in white liturgical vestments, as were the cardinals who accompanied him. The crowd applauded as it witnessed his arrival on nearby giant screens. His personals secretary and Prefect of the Papal Household Mgr. Georg Gaenswein was at his side. Mgr. Gaenswein welcomed monarchs, presidents and prime ministers in the sanctuary of St. Peter’s Square. Among them was Ireland’s prime minister Enda Kenny, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and EU leaders José Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy. Benedict XVI sat to the left of the altar, in an area reserved for cardinals. He greeted from afar, slid his reading glasses on and opened the service booklet. The vice dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, spoke to him for a few minutes before all the other cardinals queued up to greet him. Sister Tobiana, a long-time collaborator of Pope John Paul II’s also approached him. The President of the Italian republic and his wife also greeted the Pope Emeritus. More applause followed as Pope Francis arrived, blessing the altar with incense before going to greet Ratzinger himself. Benedict XVI stood and the two embraced.

After John XXIII and John Paul II were proclaimed saints, their respective relics were brought to a place next to the altar. Angelo Roncalli’s – a piece of skin removed during the exhumation of his body - was carried by four nephews from the Roncalli family, the mayor of Sotto il Monte, the Pope’s birthplace and the director of the John XXIII foundation. John Paul II’s relic – a piece of material soaked in his blood – was carried by Floribeth Mora Diaz, the Costa Rican woman whose miraculous and inexplicable healing made Wojtyla’s canonization possible. She was accompanied by her husband. Marie Simone Pierre - the nun whose miraculous healing led to John Paul II’s beatification – read out an intention in French during the Prayer of the Faithful. The mass, - which was preceded by the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy (today the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Divine Mercy introduced by John Paul II) – began at 10 am with the Litanies of Saints and the procession of the celebrants. After the readings, Pope Francis pronounced his homily, followed by the Eucharist and the Regina Coeli.

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