By Alice Kenny
Catholic Charities celebrates the uniting yesterday, April 27, 2014, of three of the best-loved leaders in the history of the Roman Catholic Church when Pope Francis canonized his predecessors, Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, in a special ceremony in St. Peter’s Square.
The two popes, now recognized as saints, both rose from very humble beginnings to lead the Roman Catholic Church, reports CNN.
John XXIII (1881-1963) — known as Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli before he became Pope — was one of 13 children born into a family of Italian peasants, farmers from a tiny village in the country’s north, before being sent away to study for the priesthood at the age of 11.
John Paul II (1920-2005), born Karol Jozef Wojtyla, was brought up in a grimy industrial town in Poland first controlled by Germany and later by the U.S.S.R. His soldier father raised him after his mother died when he was just eight.
Huge crowds – nearly one million people – witnessed the unprecedented ceremony at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. Millions more around the world watched as two former pontiffs were for the first time installed as saints in a dual canonization.
In another first on this historic day, two living popes were present for the ceremony. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who resigned from the papacy a year ago citing health reasons, was not at the altar but was greeted warmly by Francis both before and after the event.
Pope John Paul II, now beatified, advised us to “not be afraid to take a chance on peace, to teach peace, to live peace.”
Just as these men showed peace to others, we invite you to join us and take a chance on peace.
Join us and learn more.