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Canonization of two popes: Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II

Canonization of two popes: Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II


Thur April 17, 2014


Pope John XXIII was born Angelo Roncalli in northern Italy on November 25th, 1881. He was the fourth in a family of 14. He entered the diocesan seminary at Bergamo in 1892, and was ordained in Rome in 1904. During the First World War, he worked in the medical corps and as a chaplain to the Italian forces. In 1925, he became a Bishop and was sent to Bulgaria.{{more}}

In 1953, at the age of 71, he was appointed as Archbishop of Venice and was named as a Cardinal. In 1958, Pope Pius XII died and in the conclave of October 28th, 1958, Cardinal Roncalli was elected Pope. He took the name John, recalling that St John was the patron of the parish church where he was baptized.

Elected at the age of 76, many thought he would be a sort of interim Pope after the long pontificate of Pius XII, which lasted nearly 20 years. Not so. From the start he was active and pastoral. Shortly after his appointment he visited children in hospital on Christmas Day and on the following day went to Regina Coeli Prison, famously saying to the prisoners: “You could not come to me, so I came to you.” He had a commitment to the cause of peace, and shortly before his death produced the great encyclical Pacem in Terris. His most notable achievement was to call for the Second Vatican Council in 1962. He is reported to have said: “I want to throw open the windows of the Church so that we can see out and the people can see in.” He died on June 3rd,1963, at the age of 81. He kept spiritual journals from his teens, and his writings are collected in his JOURNAL of a SOUL. He is remembered fondly as “Good Pope John.”

He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 3rd, 2000.


Pope John Paul II was born Karol Jozef Wojtyla in the Polish city of Wadowice on May 18th, 1920. He was the youngest of three children. His mother died when he was eight and his father when he was 20. At university in Krakow, he excelled in languages and was involved in drama. He was a keen sportsman, playing soccer in goal. He began his studies for the priesthood in secret and was ordained on November 1st, 1946.

In 1958 he was made auxiliary Bishop of Krakow and in 1964 became Archbishop of Krakow. He was a participant in all the sessions of the Second Vatican Council. He was made a Cardinal in 1967 by Pope Paul VI who died in August 1978. John Paul I was elected in September 1978 and died after only 33 days in office.

Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope on October 16th, 1978. He was the first non-Italian Pope for 455 years and famously termed himself a “man from a far country.” He made a total of 104 pastoral visits outside of Italy, visiting 129 countries! He instituted WORLD YOUTH DAY, which has brought together many millions of young people from all over the globe. He was also recognized in the political sphere as a major world leader, and spoke out openly against Communist dictatorship, apartheid and the death penalty. He frequently entered dialogue with the leaders of other world religions and prayed with them.

Pope John Paul II taught through his preaching his many letters and his books. He inspired countless millions through his warm personality. He died on April 2nd, 2005, at the end of Easter week on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday. He was beatified by his successor Pope Benedict XV1 in 2011.

The CANONIZATION ceremony will be aired by SVGTV from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Sunday, 27th April.