Five years ago, the Roman Catholic Church canonized Polish Pope, John Paul II, and Italian Pope, John XXIII, in a joint ceremony.
The event took place on the Divine Mercy Sunday, the first Sunday after Easter, established by John Paul II as an official Church feast in 2000.
In 1978, Karol Wojtyła was the first non-Italian cardinal in 450 years to become Pope. His pontificate lasted 27 years, until his death in 2005.
The hopes that the Polish Pope would be declared saint had already been clear during his funeral ceremony on 8 April 2005. On that day, mourners gathered at the Saint Peter’s Square carried banners saying “Santo subito” or “Saint immediately”. Soon after, Pope Benedict XVI announced that the beatification process of John Paul II would be shortened from five to three years.
The canonization of both Pope John Paul II and John XXIII took place on 27 April 2014. The mass was celebrated by Pope Francis and concelebrated by 150 cardinals and 700 bishops from around the world. 800,000 warshippers, including presidents, prime ministers and official delegations of close to a hundred countries, as well as thousands of Poles, attended the canonization celebrations.
Pope Francis called John Paul II “the Pope of families” and emphasised his teachings on social norms and the community. “It is enough to think about the key value he promoted in his teaching, that is ‘solidarity’. This word, which might be regarded as fading, still maintains its full prophetic power”, stressed the Pope.
Prior to beatification, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints declared the curing of a French nun of Parkinson’s disease as a miracle performed by John Paul II.
“Saint John Paul II was the most renowned and most prominent of all Poles and his pontificate had an enormous impact on history, not only on the history of Poland, but also on personal lives of Poles. His words are still resounding in our hearts. We should not allow for these words to be forgotten, because they are still relevant and we still need them”, said the spokesman for the Episcopal Congress of Poland, fr Paweł Rytel-Andrianik.