On April 27, 2014, two popes were canonised - a Pole, John Paul II and Italian John XXIII. For the first time in history, two bishops of Rome were simultaneously recognised as saints, and for the first time the canonisation mass was celebrated by two popes, Francis and Pope Senior Benedict XVI.
The canonisation ceremony took place on Divine Mercy Sunday, a holiday established by John Paul II. The ceremony at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican was attended by over 800,000 pilgrims from all over the world, including presidents, prime ministers and official delegations of close to a hundred countries, as well as thousands of Poles. The new saints of the Catholic Church were announced by Pope Francis.
In his homily, Pope Francis called John Paul II "the pope of family" and John XXIII "the pope of obedience to the Holy Spirit."
The hopes of the faithful that the Polish Pope would be recognised as a saint as soon as possible were already visible during his funeral ceremony on April 8, 2005. At that time, gathered at St. Peter’s Square, they raised banners with the words "Santo subito", meaning "Saint immediately". Pope Benedict XVI responded to the call of the faithful and on May 13, 2005 announced the acceleration of the beatification process. Exercising his right, he relinquished the five-year rule that must elapse from the death of the candidate for the altars.
Prior to the beatification, the heroic virtues of John Paul II were recognised, and Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree on this matter. Subsequently, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints recognised as a miracle the healing of a French nun from Parkinson's disease, from which the pope also suffered. In January 2011, a papal decree and beatification date were announced. The ceremony of beatification of John Paul II took place on May 1, 2011, on Divine Mercy Sunday.
After the beatification, the canonisation process began. A breakthrough in it was the decision of Pope Francis on July 5, 2013 to recognise a miracle attributed to the intercession of John Paul II. A case of unexplainable healing from the medical point of view was investigated by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Recognition of the miracle opened the way to the canonisation of John Paul II.
During the consistory on September 30, 2013, Pope Francis announced that John XXIII would be proclaimed a saint along with John Paul II. He appointed the canonisation on April 27, 2014 - the Feast of Divine Mercy.
John Paul II was canonised nine years after his death and three years after his beatification. The Polish Pope, previously Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, led the Roman Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005. He was the first non-Italian bishop of Rome in over 450 years.
The Italian Pope - born Angelo Roncalli - resided in the See of Peter from 1958-1963 as John XXIII. It was him, who initiated the Second Vatican Council, called "the spring of the Church". He died in 1963. He was canonised half a century after his death and 13 years after his beatification.