At 6pm tonight, a mashup of past and present papacies, the globe’s roughly 1 billion Catholics, and heads of state from around the world will honour John Paul II and John XXIII as they are jointly proclaimed saints for the first time in the Church’s 2,000-year history.
For such a momentous and historic occasion, the ceremony is actually quite short and surprisingly straightforward.
How One Becomes A Saint
A person may be considered for sainthood, after he/she has been dead for at least 5 years. According to the United States Conference Of Catholic Bishops, there are three steps to sainthood.
- “Venerable” – candidate is declared by a pope as having ”heroic’ virtues. This is achieved through the collection of documents and testimonies.
- “Blessed” – there must be proof that the candidate performed at least one miracle during his/her life
- “Saint” – another miracle must be performed after death
She held a photograph of John Paul II and while laying in bed one day, Mora claims she heard, “Stand up. Don’t be afraid.”
Then, the aneurysm inexplicably disappeared.
Another miracle involved French nun Marie Simon Pierre, who said her symptoms of Parkinson’s disease disappeared after she prayed to the pontiff following his death, according to ABC News.
As for Pope John XXIII, he is recognised as holy enough to be canonized with only one miracle. The pontiff reportedly cured a nun suffering a severe gastric illness in 1966.
What To Expect At Tomorrow’s Ceremony
The ceremony, celebrated mostly in Latin, will begin at approximately 2 a.m. Eastern Time with prayers, hymns, followed by the
roll call of the Church’s nearly 10,000 saints, each one followed by the Latin phrase “Ora pro nobis” meaning “Pray for us.”
A man wears a flag depicting Pope John Paul II outside St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.
Once all of this is completed, Pope Francis will process to the altar with con-celebrant emeritus Pope Benedict XVI and 150 cardinals and 700 bishops.
This is the first time Benedict will join Francis in celebrating Mass in public since his shocking resignation last year.
The head of the Vatican’s saint-making office will ask the pope three separate times to include John XXIII and John Paul II among the saints.
Three repeated requests for canonization signify the importance of the event.
Pope Francis will then say this lengthy sentence:
“For the honour of the Blessed Trinity, the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the increase of the Christian life, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own, after due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brother bishops, we declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II be saints and we enroll them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole church. In the name of the Holy Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Relics, physical remains of a saint or an item they have touched in their life, are then brought to the altar. John Paul’s blood and a small piece of skin taken from John XXIII will be the relics present tomorrow.
Then an official document recognising the canonization is presented which marks the conclusion of the rite. Mass proceeds as usual with 6,00o priests on hand to distribute Communion in St. Peter’s Square.
In addition to the massive general public that will be in attendance, 93 official delegations plan to attend, including an estimated 24 heads of state and royals from around the world.
There will be 19 screens broadcasting the ceremony near the Vatican, a live stream, a Google + hangout as well as a Facebook page, Instagram account, YouTube page, and Twitter dedicated to this event.
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