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Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Two 20th-century popes who changed the course of the Catholic Church became saints Sunday as Pope Francis honored John XXIII and John Paul II in a delicate balancing act aimed at bringing together the conservative and progressive wings of the church.

As if to drive the message of unity home, Francis invited retired Pope Benedict XVI to join him on the altar of St. Peter’s Square, the first time a reigning and retired pope have celebrated Mass together in public in the 2,000-year history of the church.

An estimated 800,000 people – many of them from John Paul’s native Poland – filled St. Peter’s, the streets around it and bridges over the Tiber River, a huge turnout but only half the size of the crowd that came out for John Paul’s 2011 beatification.

John reigned from 1958-1963 and is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened the Second Vatican Council. The meetings brought the church into the modern era by allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and encouraged greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his globe-trotting, quarter-century papacy, John Paul II helped topple communism and invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching on abortion, marriage and other hot-button issues heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

Benedict was one of John Paul’s closest confidantes and went on to preside over a deeply tradition-minded eight-year papacy. His successor Francis seems a pope much more inspired by the pastoral, simple style of the “good pope” John.

Yet Francis offered each new saint heartfelt praise in his homily, saying John had allowed himself to be led by God to call the council, and hailing John Paul’s focus on the family. It’s an issue that Francis has asked the church as a whole to take up for discussion with a two-year debate starting this fall.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.”

Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after his 2005 death, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” that erupted during his funeral Mass. John Paul’s canonization is now the fastest in modern times.

John’s sainthood run, on the other hand, languished after his 2000 beatification. Rather than let John Paul have the limelight with a canonization on his own – emboldening many in the conservative wing of the church – Francis decided to pair him up with John. To do so, Francis tweaked the Vatican’s own saint-making rules, deciding that John could be made a saint alongside John Paul without the necessary second miracle usually required.

Francis sounded a note of continuity in his homily, praising John for having called the council and John Paul for helping implement it.

“John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries,” Francis said.

During the ceremony, Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin, as if moved by the history he was about to make in canonizing two popes at once.

As soon as he did so, applause broke out from a crowd in St. Peter’s and beyond.

“This is such a historic moment,” marveled the Rev. Victor Perez, who brought a group of students from the John Paul High School in Houston, Texas and waited for nearly 12 hours to get near St. Peter’s. “John Paul was so impactful on the church. He completed the work of Vatican II. Today honors the last 50 years of what God has done in the church.”

In John Paul’s native Poland, bells rang out as soon as Francis pronounced the two men saints.

“He changed Poland and he changed us with his teaching and with his visits here,” an emotional Maria Jurek said as she watched the proceedings on giant TV screens at a sanctuary dedicated to John Paul in Krakow.

In the Philippines, where John Paul in 1995 drew the largest ever crowd for a papal Mass at 4 million, Filipinos watched the canonization on TV and joined local celebrations, including a suburban Manila parade of children dressed like the pope.

Yet the atmosphere in St. Peter’s seemed somber and subdued – perhaps because of the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep of many of the pilgrims who camped out on streets near the Vatican. It was a far different scene from the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification, when bands of young people sang, danced and cheered before, during and after the Mass.

Spirits though did pick up after the service when Francis drove through the square and all the way down to the Tiber River in his open-topped car, giving many people their first – and only – close-up glimpse of him.

The Vatican estimated that 800,000 people watched the Mass in Rome, with about 500,000 in the square and nearby streets and the rest watching on TV screens that had been set up in piazzas around town.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

And while it was supposed to be a canonization for two men, it was clear that the vast majority of people who turned out were there for John Paul.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of both new saints.

“In 1982, he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. About 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland also took part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Benedict’s presence on the altar with them was as remarkable as the historic canonization itself.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

During the Mass, Benedict sat off to the side of the altar with other cardinals, though he was clearly in a place of honor. He received the Italian president and a steady stream of cardinals. Francis himself embraced Benedict at the beginning and end of the service.

Benedict had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing the same white vestments and white bishops’ miter as other cardinals. The only difference was he had a white skullcap on rather than red.

Monika Scislowska contributed from Krakow, Poland and Jim Gomez and Rene Casibang contributed from Manila, Philippines.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Two 20th-century popes who changed the course of the Catholic Church became saints Sunday as Pope Francis honored John XXIII and John Paul II in a delicate balancing act aimed at bringing together the conservative and progressive wings of the church.

As if to drive the message of unity home, Francis invited retired Pope Benedict XVI to join him on the altar of St. Peter’s Square, the first time a reigning and retired pope have celebrated Mass together in public in the 2,000-year history of the church.

An estimated 800,000 people – many of them from John Paul’s native Poland – filled St. Peter’s, the streets around it and bridges over the Tiber River, a huge turnout but only half the size of the crowd that came out for John Paul’s 2011 beatification.

John reigned from 1958-1963 and is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened the Second Vatican Council. The meetings brought the church into the modern era by allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and encouraged greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his globe-trotting, quarter-century papacy, John Paul II helped topple communism and invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching on abortion, marriage and other hot-button issues heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

Benedict was one of John Paul’s closest confidantes and went on to preside over a deeply tradition-minded eight-year papacy. His successor Francis seems a pope much more inspired by the pastoral, simple style of the “good pope” John.

Yet Francis offered each new saint heartfelt praise in his homily, saying John had allowed himself to be led by God to call the council, and hailing John Paul’s focus on the family. It’s an issue that Francis has asked the church as a whole to take up for discussion with a two-year debate starting this fall.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.”

Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after his 2005 death, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” that erupted during his funeral Mass. John Paul’s canonization is now the fastest in modern times.

John’s sainthood run, on the other hand, languished after his 2000 beatification. Rather than let John Paul have the limelight with a canonization on his own – emboldening many in the conservative wing of the church – Francis decided to pair him up with John. To do so, Francis tweaked the Vatican’s own saint-making rules, deciding that John could be made a saint alongside John Paul without the necessary second miracle usually required.

Francis sounded a note of continuity in his homily, praising John for having called the council and John Paul for helping implement it.

“John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries,” Francis said.

During the ceremony, Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin, as if moved by the history he was about to make in canonizing two popes at once.

As soon as he did so, applause broke out from a crowd in St. Peter’s and beyond.

“This is such a historic moment,” marveled the Rev. Victor Perez, who brought a group of students from the John Paul High School in Houston, Texas and waited for nearly 12 hours to get near St. Peter’s. “John Paul was so impactful on the church. He completed the work of Vatican II. Today honors the last 50 years of what God has done in the church.”

In John Paul’s native Poland, bells rang out as soon as Francis pronounced the two men saints.

“He changed Poland and he changed us with his teaching and with his visits here,” an emotional Maria Jurek said as she watched the proceedings on giant TV screens at a sanctuary dedicated to John Paul in Krakow.

In the Philippines, where John Paul in 1995 drew the largest ever crowd for a papal Mass at 4 million, Filipinos watched the canonization on TV and joined local celebrations, including a suburban Manila parade of children dressed like the pope.

Yet the atmosphere in St. Peter’s seemed somber and subdued – perhaps because of the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep of many of the pilgrims who camped out on streets near the Vatican. It was a far different scene from the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification, when bands of young people sang, danced and cheered before, during and after the Mass.

Spirits though did pick up after the service when Francis drove through the square and all the way down to the Tiber River in his open-topped car, giving many people their first – and only – close-up glimpse of him.

The Vatican estimated that 800,000 people watched the Mass in Rome, with about 500,000 in the square and nearby streets and the rest watching on TV screens that had been set up in piazzas around town.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

And while it was supposed to be a canonization for two men, it was clear that the vast majority of people who turned out were there for John Paul.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of both new saints.

“In 1982, he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. About 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland also took part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Benedict’s presence on the altar with them was as remarkable as the historic canonization itself.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

During the Mass, Benedict sat off to the side of the altar with other cardinals, though he was clearly in a place of honor. He received the Italian president and a steady stream of cardinals. Francis himself embraced Benedict at the beginning and end of the service.

Benedict had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing the same white vestments and white bishops’ miter as other cardinals. The only difference was he had a white skullcap on rather than red.

Monika Scislowska contributed from Krakow, Poland and Jim Gomez and Rene Casibang contributed from Manila, Philippines.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Two 20th-century popes who changed the course of the Catholic Church became saints Sunday as Pope Francis honored John XXIII and John Paul II in a delicate balancing act aimed at bringing together the conservative and progressive wings of the church.

As if to drive the message of unity home, Francis invited retired Pope Benedict XVI to join him on the altar of St. Peter’s Square, the first time a reigning and retired pope have celebrated Mass together in public in the 2,000-year history of the church.

An estimated 800,000 people – many of them from John Paul’s native Poland – filled St. Peter’s, the streets around it and bridges over the Tiber River, a huge turnout but only half the size of the crowd that came out for John Paul’s 2011 beatification.

John reigned from 1958-1963 and is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened the Second Vatican Council. The meetings brought the church into the modern era by allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and encouraged greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his globe-trotting, quarter-century papacy, John Paul II helped topple communism and invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching on abortion, marriage and other hot-button issues heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

Benedict was one of John Paul’s closest confidantes and went on to preside over a deeply tradition-minded eight-year papacy. His successor Francis seems a pope much more inspired by the pastoral, simple style of the “good pope” John.

Yet Francis offered each new saint heartfelt praise in his homily, saying John had allowed himself to be led by God to call the council, and hailing John Paul’s focus on the family. It’s an issue that Francis has asked the church as a whole to take up for discussion with a two-year debate starting this fall.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.”

Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after his 2005 death, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” that erupted during his funeral Mass. John Paul’s canonization is now the fastest in modern times.

John’s sainthood run, on the other hand, languished after his 2000 beatification. Rather than let John Paul have the limelight with a canonization on his own – emboldening many in the conservative wing of the church – Francis decided to pair him up with John. To do so, Francis tweaked the Vatican’s own saint-making rules, deciding that John could be made a saint alongside John Paul without the necessary second miracle usually required.

Francis sounded a note of continuity in his homily, praising John for having called the council and John Paul for helping implement it.

“John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries,” Francis said.

During the ceremony, Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin, as if moved by the history he was about to make in canonizing two popes at once.

As soon as he did so, applause broke out from a crowd in St. Peter’s and beyond.

“This is such a historic moment,” marveled the Rev. Victor Perez, who brought a group of students from the John Paul High School in Houston, Texas and waited for nearly 12 hours to get near St. Peter’s. “John Paul was so impactful on the church. He completed the work of Vatican II. Today honors the last 50 years of what God has done in the church.”

In John Paul’s native Poland, bells rang out as soon as Francis pronounced the two men saints.

“He changed Poland and he changed us with his teaching and with his visits here,” an emotional Maria Jurek said as she watched the proceedings on giant TV screens at a sanctuary dedicated to John Paul in Krakow.

In the Philippines, where John Paul in 1995 drew the largest ever crowd for a papal Mass at 4 million, Filipinos watched the canonization on TV and joined local celebrations, including a suburban Manila parade of children dressed like the pope.

Yet the atmosphere in St. Peter’s seemed somber and subdued – perhaps because of the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep of many of the pilgrims who camped out on streets near the Vatican. It was a far different scene from the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification, when bands of young people sang, danced and cheered before, during and after the Mass.

Spirits though did pick up after the service when Francis drove through the square and all the way down to the Tiber River in his open-topped car, giving many people their first – and only – close-up glimpse of him.

The Vatican estimated that 800,000 people watched the Mass in Rome, with about 500,000 in the square and nearby streets and the rest watching on TV screens that had been set up in piazzas around town.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

And while it was supposed to be a canonization for two men, it was clear that the vast majority of people who turned out were there for John Paul.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of both new saints.

“In 1982, he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. About 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland also took part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Benedict’s presence on the altar with them was as remarkable as the historic canonization itself.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

During the Mass, Benedict sat off to the side of the altar with other cardinals, though he was clearly in a place of honor. He received the Italian president and a steady stream of cardinals. Francis himself embraced Benedict at the beginning and end of the service.

Benedict had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing the same white vestments and white bishops’ miter as other cardinals. The only difference was he had a white skullcap on rather than red.

Monika Scislowska contributed from Krakow, Poland and Jim Gomez and Rene Casibang contributed from Manila, Philippines.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Two 20th-century popes who changed the course of the Catholic Church became saints Sunday as Pope Francis honored John XXIII and John Paul II in a delicate balancing act aimed at bringing together the conservative and progressive wings of the church.

As if to drive the message of unity home, Francis invited retired Pope Benedict XVI to join him on the altar of St. Peter’s Square, the first time a reigning and retired pope have celebrated Mass together in public in the 2,000-year history of the church.

An estimated 800,000 people – many of them from John Paul’s native Poland – filled St. Peter’s, the streets around it and bridges over the Tiber River, a huge turnout but only half the size of the crowd that came out for John Paul’s 2011 beatification.

John reigned from 1958-1963 and is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened the Second Vatican Council. The meetings brought the church into the modern era by allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and encouraged greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his globe-trotting, quarter-century papacy, John Paul II helped topple communism and invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching on abortion, marriage and other hot-button issues heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

Benedict was one of John Paul’s closest confidantes and went on to preside over a deeply tradition-minded eight-year papacy. His successor Francis seems a pope much more inspired by the pastoral, simple style of the “good pope” John.

Yet Francis offered each new saint heartfelt praise in his homily, saying John had allowed himself to be led by God to call the council, and hailing John Paul’s focus on the family. It’s an issue that Francis has asked the church as a whole to take up for discussion with a two-year debate starting this fall.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.”

Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after his 2005 death, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” that erupted during his funeral Mass. John Paul’s canonization is now the fastest in modern times.

John’s sainthood run, on the other hand, languished after his 2000 beatification. Rather than let John Paul have the limelight with a canonization on his own – emboldening many in the conservative wing of the church – Francis decided to pair him up with John. To do so, Francis tweaked the Vatican’s own saint-making rules, deciding that John could be made a saint alongside John Paul without the necessary second miracle usually required.

Francis sounded a note of continuity in his homily, praising John for having called the council and John Paul for helping implement it.

“John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries,” Francis said.

During the ceremony, Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin, as if moved by the history he was about to make in canonizing two popes at once.

As soon as he did so, applause broke out from a crowd in St. Peter’s and beyond.

“This is such a historic moment,” marveled the Rev. Victor Perez, who brought a group of students from the John Paul High School in Houston, Texas and waited for nearly 12 hours to get near St. Peter’s. “John Paul was so impactful on the church. He completed the work of Vatican II. Today honors the last 50 years of what God has done in the church.”

In John Paul’s native Poland, bells rang out as soon as Francis pronounced the two men saints.

“He changed Poland and he changed us with his teaching and with his visits here,” an emotional Maria Jurek said as she watched the proceedings on giant TV screens at a sanctuary dedicated to John Paul in Krakow.

In the Philippines, where John Paul in 1995 drew the largest ever crowd for a papal Mass at 4 million, Filipinos watched the canonization on TV and joined local celebrations, including a suburban Manila parade of children dressed like the pope.

Yet the atmosphere in St. Peter’s seemed somber and subdued – perhaps because of the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep of many of the pilgrims who camped out on streets near the Vatican. It was a far different scene from the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification, when bands of young people sang, danced and cheered before, during and after the Mass.

Spirits though did pick up after the service when Francis drove through the square and all the way down to the Tiber River in his open-topped car, giving many people their first – and only – close-up glimpse of him.

The Vatican estimated that 800,000 people watched the Mass in Rome, with about 500,000 in the square and nearby streets and the rest watching on TV screens that had been set up in piazzas around town.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

And while it was supposed to be a canonization for two men, it was clear that the vast majority of people who turned out were there for John Paul.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of both new saints.

“In 1982, he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. About 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland also took part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Benedict’s presence on the altar with them was as remarkable as the historic canonization itself.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

During the Mass, Benedict sat off to the side of the altar with other cardinals, though he was clearly in a place of honor. He received the Italian president and a steady stream of cardinals. Francis himself embraced Benedict at the beginning and end of the service.

Benedict had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing the same white vestments and white bishops’ miter as other cardinals. The only difference was he had a white skullcap on rather than red.

Monika Scislowska contributed from Krakow, Poland and Jim Gomez and Rene Casibang contributed from Manila, Philippines.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Two 20th-century popes who changed the course of the Catholic Church became saints Sunday as Pope Francis honored John XXIII and John Paul II in a delicate balancing act aimed at bringing together the conservative and progressive wings of the church.

As if to drive the message of unity home, Francis invited retired Pope Benedict XVI to join him on the altar of St. Peter’s Square, the first time a reigning and retired pope have celebrated Mass together in public in the 2,000-year history of the church.

An estimated 800,000 people – many of them from John Paul’s native Poland – filled St. Peter’s, the streets around it and bridges over the Tiber River, a huge turnout but only half the size of the crowd that came out for John Paul’s 2011 beatification.

John reigned from 1958-1963 and is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened the Second Vatican Council. The meetings brought the church into the modern era by allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and encouraged greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his globe-trotting, quarter-century papacy, John Paul II helped topple communism and invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching on abortion, marriage and other hot-button issues heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

Benedict was one of John Paul’s closest confidantes and went on to preside over a deeply tradition-minded eight-year papacy. His successor Francis seems a pope much more inspired by the pastoral, simple style of the “good pope” John.

Yet Francis offered each new saint heartfelt praise in his homily, saying John had allowed himself to be led by God to call the council, and hailing John Paul’s focus on the family. It’s an issue that Francis has asked the church as a whole to take up for discussion with a two-year debate starting this fall.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.”

Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after his 2005 death, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” that erupted during his funeral Mass. John Paul’s canonization is now the fastest in modern times.

John’s sainthood run, on the other hand, languished after his 2000 beatification. Rather than let John Paul have the limelight with a canonization on his own – emboldening many in the conservative wing of the church – Francis decided to pair him up with John. To do so, Francis tweaked the Vatican’s own saint-making rules, deciding that John could be made a saint alongside John Paul without the necessary second miracle usually required.

Francis sounded a note of continuity in his homily, praising John for having called the council and John Paul for helping implement it.

“John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries,” Francis said.

During the ceremony, Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin, as if moved by the history he was about to make in canonizing two popes at once.

As soon as he did so, applause broke out from a crowd in St. Peter’s and beyond.

“This is such a historic moment,” marveled the Rev. Victor Perez, who brought a group of students from the John Paul High School in Houston, Texas and waited for nearly 12 hours to get near St. Peter’s. “John Paul was so impactful on the church. He completed the work of Vatican II. Today honors the last 50 years of what God has done in the church.”

In John Paul’s native Poland, bells rang out as soon as Francis pronounced the two men saints.

“He changed Poland and he changed us with his teaching and with his visits here,” an emotional Maria Jurek said as she watched the proceedings on giant TV screens at a sanctuary dedicated to John Paul in Krakow.

In the Philippines, where John Paul in 1995 drew the largest ever crowd for a papal Mass at 4 million, Filipinos watched the canonization on TV and joined local celebrations, including a suburban Manila parade of children dressed like the pope.

Yet the atmosphere in St. Peter’s seemed somber and subdued – perhaps because of the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep of many of the pilgrims who camped out on streets near the Vatican. It was a far different scene from the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification, when bands of young people sang, danced and cheered before, during and after the Mass.

Spirits though did pick up after the service when Francis drove through the square and all the way down to the Tiber River in his open-topped car, giving many people their first – and only – close-up glimpse of him.

The Vatican estimated that 800,000 people watched the Mass in Rome, with about 500,000 in the square and nearby streets and the rest watching on TV screens that had been set up in piazzas around town.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

And while it was supposed to be a canonization for two men, it was clear that the vast majority of people who turned out were there for John Paul.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of both new saints.

“In 1982, he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. About 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland also took part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Benedict’s presence on the altar with them was as remarkable as the historic canonization itself.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

During the Mass, Benedict sat off to the side of the altar with other cardinals, though he was clearly in a place of honor. He received the Italian president and a steady stream of cardinals. Francis himself embraced Benedict at the beginning and end of the service.

Benedict had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing the same white vestments and white bishops’ miter as other cardinals. The only difference was he had a white skullcap on rather than red.

Monika Scislowska contributed from Krakow, Poland and Jim Gomez and Rene Casibang contributed from Manila, Philippines.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Two 20th-century popes who changed the course of the Catholic Church became saints Sunday as Pope Francis honored John XXIII and John Paul II in a delicate balancing act aimed at bringing together the conservative and progressive wings of the church.

As if to drive the message of unity home, Francis invited retired Pope Benedict XVI to join him on the altar of St. Peter’s Square, the first time a reigning and retired pope have celebrated Mass together in public in the 2,000-year history of the church.

An estimated 800,000 people – many of them from John Paul’s native Poland – filled St. Peter’s, the streets around it and bridges over the Tiber River, a huge turnout but only half the size of the crowd that came out for John Paul’s 2011 beatification.

John reigned from 1958-1963 and is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened the Second Vatican Council. The meetings brought the church into the modern era by allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and encouraged greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his globe-trotting, quarter-century papacy, John Paul II helped topple communism and invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching on abortion, marriage and other hot-button issues heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

Benedict was one of John Paul’s closest confidantes and went on to preside over a deeply tradition-minded eight-year papacy. His successor Francis seems a pope much more inspired by the pastoral, simple style of the “good pope” John.

Yet Francis offered each new saint heartfelt praise in his homily, saying John had allowed himself to be led by God to call the council, and hailing John Paul’s focus on the family. It’s an issue that Francis has asked the church as a whole to take up for discussion with a two-year debate starting this fall.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.”

Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after his 2005 death, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” that erupted during his funeral Mass. John Paul’s canonization is now the fastest in modern times.

John’s sainthood run, on the other hand, languished after his 2000 beatification. Rather than let John Paul have the limelight with a canonization on his own – emboldening many in the conservative wing of the church – Francis decided to pair him up with John. To do so, Francis tweaked the Vatican’s own saint-making rules, deciding that John could be made a saint alongside John Paul without the necessary second miracle usually required.

Francis sounded a note of continuity in his homily, praising John for having called the council and John Paul for helping implement it.

“John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries,” Francis said.

During the ceremony, Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin, as if moved by the history he was about to make in canonizing two popes at once.

As soon as he did so, applause broke out from a crowd in St. Peter’s and beyond.

“This is such a historic moment,” marveled the Rev. Victor Perez, who brought a group of students from the John Paul High School in Houston, Texas and waited for nearly 12 hours to get near St. Peter’s. “John Paul was so impactful on the church. He completed the work of Vatican II. Today honors the last 50 years of what God has done in the church.”

In John Paul’s native Poland, bells rang out as soon as Francis pronounced the two men saints.

“He changed Poland and he changed us with his teaching and with his visits here,” an emotional Maria Jurek said as she watched the proceedings on giant TV screens at a sanctuary dedicated to John Paul in Krakow.

In the Philippines, where John Paul in 1995 drew the largest ever crowd for a papal Mass at 4 million, Filipinos watched the canonization on TV and joined local celebrations, including a suburban Manila parade of children dressed like the pope.

Yet the atmosphere in St. Peter’s seemed somber and subdued – perhaps because of the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep of many of the pilgrims who camped out on streets near the Vatican. It was a far different scene from the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification, when bands of young people sang, danced and cheered before, during and after the Mass.

Spirits though did pick up after the service when Francis drove through the square and all the way down to the Tiber River in his open-topped car, giving many people their first – and only – close-up glimpse of him.

The Vatican estimated that 800,000 people watched the Mass in Rome, with about 500,000 in the square and nearby streets and the rest watching on TV screens that had been set up in piazzas around town.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

And while it was supposed to be a canonization for two men, it was clear that the vast majority of people who turned out were there for John Paul.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of both new saints.

“In 1982, he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. About 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland also took part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Benedict’s presence on the altar with them was as remarkable as the historic canonization itself.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

During the Mass, Benedict sat off to the side of the altar with other cardinals, though he was clearly in a place of honor. He received the Italian president and a steady stream of cardinals. Francis himself embraced Benedict at the beginning and end of the service.

Benedict had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing the same white vestments and white bishops’ miter as other cardinals. The only difference was he had a white skullcap on rather than red.

Monika Scislowska contributed from Krakow, Poland and Jim Gomez and Rene Casibang contributed from Manila, Philippines.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Two 20th-century popes who changed the course of the Catholic Church became saints Sunday as Pope Francis honored John XXIII and John Paul II in a delicate balancing act aimed at bringing together the conservative and progressive wings of the church.

As if to drive the message of unity home, Francis invited retired Pope Benedict XVI to join him on the altar of St. Peter’s Square, the first time a reigning and retired pope have celebrated Mass together in public in the 2,000-year history of the church.

An estimated 800,000 people – many of them from John Paul’s native Poland – filled St. Peter’s, the streets around it and bridges over the Tiber River, a huge turnout but only half the size of the crowd that came out for John Paul’s 2011 beatification.

John reigned from 1958-1963 and is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened the Second Vatican Council. The meetings brought the church into the modern era by allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and encouraged greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his globe-trotting, quarter-century papacy, John Paul II helped topple communism and invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching on abortion, marriage and other hot-button issues heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

Benedict was one of John Paul’s closest confidantes and went on to preside over a deeply tradition-minded eight-year papacy. His successor Francis seems a pope much more inspired by the pastoral, simple style of the “good pope” John.

Yet Francis offered each new saint heartfelt praise in his homily, saying John had allowed himself to be led by God to call the council, and hailing John Paul’s focus on the family. It’s an issue that Francis has asked the church as a whole to take up for discussion with a two-year debate starting this fall.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.”

Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after his 2005 death, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” that erupted during his funeral Mass. John Paul’s canonization is now the fastest in modern times.

John’s sainthood run, on the other hand, languished after his 2000 beatification. Rather than let John Paul have the limelight with a canonization on his own – emboldening many in the conservative wing of the church – Francis decided to pair him up with John. To do so, Francis tweaked the Vatican’s own saint-making rules, deciding that John could be made a saint alongside John Paul without the necessary second miracle usually required.

Francis sounded a note of continuity in his homily, praising John for having called the council and John Paul for helping implement it.

“John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries,” Francis said.

During the ceremony, Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin, as if moved by the history he was about to make in canonizing two popes at once.

As soon as he did so, applause broke out from a crowd in St. Peter’s and beyond.

“This is such a historic moment,” marveled the Rev. Victor Perez, who brought a group of students from the John Paul High School in Houston, Texas and waited for nearly 12 hours to get near St. Peter’s. “John Paul was so impactful on the church. He completed the work of Vatican II. Today honors the last 50 years of what God has done in the church.”

In John Paul’s native Poland, bells rang out as soon as Francis pronounced the two men saints.

“He changed Poland and he changed us with his teaching and with his visits here,” an emotional Maria Jurek said as she watched the proceedings on giant TV screens at a sanctuary dedicated to John Paul in Krakow.

In the Philippines, where John Paul in 1995 drew the largest ever crowd for a papal Mass at 4 million, Filipinos watched the canonization on TV and joined local celebrations, including a suburban Manila parade of children dressed like the pope.

Yet the atmosphere in St. Peter’s seemed somber and subdued – perhaps because of the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep of many of the pilgrims who camped out on streets near the Vatican. It was a far different scene from the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification, when bands of young people sang, danced and cheered before, during and after the Mass.

Spirits though did pick up after the service when Francis drove through the square and all the way down to the Tiber River in his open-topped car, giving many people their first – and only – close-up glimpse of him.

The Vatican estimated that 800,000 people watched the Mass in Rome, with about 500,000 in the square and nearby streets and the rest watching on TV screens that had been set up in piazzas around town.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

And while it was supposed to be a canonization for two men, it was clear that the vast majority of people who turned out were there for John Paul.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of both new saints.

“In 1982, he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. About 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland also took part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Benedict’s presence on the altar with them was as remarkable as the historic canonization itself.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

During the Mass, Benedict sat off to the side of the altar with other cardinals, though he was clearly in a place of honor. He received the Italian president and a steady stream of cardinals. Francis himself embraced Benedict at the beginning and end of the service.

Benedict had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing the same white vestments and white bishops’ miter as other cardinals. The only difference was he had a white skullcap on rather than red.

Monika Scislowska contributed from Krakow, Poland and Jim Gomez and Rene Casibang contributed from Manila, Philippines.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Two 20th-century popes who changed the course of the Catholic Church became saints Sunday as Pope Francis honored John XXIII and John Paul II in a delicate balancing act aimed at bringing together the conservative and progressive wings of the church.

As if to drive the message of unity home, Francis invited retired Pope Benedict XVI to join him on the altar of St. Peter’s Square, the first time a reigning and retired pope have celebrated Mass together in public in the 2,000-year history of the church.

An estimated 800,000 people – many of them from John Paul’s native Poland – filled St. Peter’s, the streets around it and bridges over the Tiber River, a huge turnout but only half the size of the crowd that came out for John Paul’s 2011 beatification.

John reigned from 1958-1963 and is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened the Second Vatican Council. The meetings brought the church into the modern era by allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and encouraged greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his globe-trotting, quarter-century papacy, John Paul II helped topple communism and invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching on abortion, marriage and other hot-button issues heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

Benedict was one of John Paul’s closest confidantes and went on to preside over a deeply tradition-minded eight-year papacy. His successor Francis seems a pope much more inspired by the pastoral, simple style of the “good pope” John.

Yet Francis offered each new saint heartfelt praise in his homily, saying John had allowed himself to be led by God to call the council, and hailing John Paul’s focus on the family. It’s an issue that Francis has asked the church as a whole to take up for discussion with a two-year debate starting this fall.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.”

Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after his 2005 death, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” that erupted during his funeral Mass. John Paul’s canonization is now the fastest in modern times.

John’s sainthood run, on the other hand, languished after his 2000 beatification. Rather than let John Paul have the limelight with a canonization on his own – emboldening many in the conservative wing of the church – Francis decided to pair him up with John. To do so, Francis tweaked the Vatican’s own saint-making rules, deciding that John could be made a saint alongside John Paul without the necessary second miracle usually required.

Francis sounded a note of continuity in his homily, praising John for having called the council and John Paul for helping implement it.

“John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries,” Francis said.

During the ceremony, Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin, as if moved by the history he was about to make in canonizing two popes at once.

As soon as he did so, applause broke out from a crowd in St. Peter’s and beyond.

“This is such a historic moment,” marveled the Rev. Victor Perez, who brought a group of students from the John Paul High School in Houston, Texas and waited for nearly 12 hours to get near St. Peter’s. “John Paul was so impactful on the church. He completed the work of Vatican II. Today honors the last 50 years of what God has done in the church.”

In John Paul’s native Poland, bells rang out as soon as Francis pronounced the two men saints.

“He changed Poland and he changed us with his teaching and with his visits here,” an emotional Maria Jurek said as she watched the proceedings on giant TV screens at a sanctuary dedicated to John Paul in Krakow.

In the Philippines, where John Paul in 1995 drew the largest ever crowd for a papal Mass at 4 million, Filipinos watched the canonization on TV and joined local celebrations, including a suburban Manila parade of children dressed like the pope.

Yet the atmosphere in St. Peter’s seemed somber and subdued – perhaps because of the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep of many of the pilgrims who camped out on streets near the Vatican. It was a far different scene from the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification, when bands of young people sang, danced and cheered before, during and after the Mass.

Spirits though did pick up after the service when Francis drove through the square and all the way down to the Tiber River in his open-topped car, giving many people their first – and only – close-up glimpse of him.

The Vatican estimated that 800,000 people watched the Mass in Rome, with about 500,000 in the square and nearby streets and the rest watching on TV screens that had been set up in piazzas around town.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

And while it was supposed to be a canonization for two men, it was clear that the vast majority of people who turned out were there for John Paul.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of both new saints.

“In 1982, he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. About 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland also took part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Benedict’s presence on the altar with them was as remarkable as the historic canonization itself.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

During the Mass, Benedict sat off to the side of the altar with other cardinals, though he was clearly in a place of honor. He received the Italian president and a steady stream of cardinals. Francis himself embraced Benedict at the beginning and end of the service.

Benedict had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing the same white vestments and white bishops’ miter as other cardinals. The only difference was he had a white skullcap on rather than red.

Monika Scislowska contributed from Krakow, Poland and Jim Gomez and Rene Casibang contributed from Manila, Philippines.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Two 20th-century popes who changed the course of the Catholic Church became saints Sunday as Pope Francis honored John XXIII and John Paul II in a delicate balancing act aimed at bringing together the conservative and progressive wings of the church.

As if to drive the message of unity home, Francis invited retired Pope Benedict XVI to join him on the altar of St. Peter’s Square, the first time a reigning and retired pope have celebrated Mass together in public in the 2,000-year history of the church.

An estimated 800,000 people – many of them from John Paul’s native Poland – filled St. Peter’s, the streets around it and bridges over the Tiber River, a huge turnout but only half the size of the crowd that came out for John Paul’s 2011 beatification.

John reigned from 1958-1963 and is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened the Second Vatican Council. The meetings brought the church into the modern era by allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and encouraged greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his globe-trotting, quarter-century papacy, John Paul II helped topple communism and invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching on abortion, marriage and other hot-button issues heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

Benedict was one of John Paul’s closest confidantes and went on to preside over a deeply tradition-minded eight-year papacy. His successor Francis seems a pope much more inspired by the pastoral, simple style of the “good pope” John.

Yet Francis offered each new saint heartfelt praise in his homily, saying John had allowed himself to be led by God to call the council, and hailing John Paul’s focus on the family. It’s an issue that Francis has asked the church as a whole to take up for discussion with a two-year debate starting this fall.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.”

Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after his 2005 death, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” that erupted during his funeral Mass. John Paul’s canonization is now the fastest in modern times.

John’s sainthood run, on the other hand, languished after his 2000 beatification. Rather than let John Paul have the limelight with a canonization on his own – emboldening many in the conservative wing of the church – Francis decided to pair him up with John. To do so, Francis tweaked the Vatican’s own saint-making rules, deciding that John could be made a saint alongside John Paul without the necessary second miracle usually required.

Francis sounded a note of continuity in his homily, praising John for having called the council and John Paul for helping implement it.

“John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries,” Francis said.

During the ceremony, Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin, as if moved by the history he was about to make in canonizing two popes at once.

As soon as he did so, applause broke out from a crowd in St. Peter’s and beyond.

“This is such a historic moment,” marveled the Rev. Victor Perez, who brought a group of students from the John Paul High School in Houston, Texas and waited for nearly 12 hours to get near St. Peter’s. “John Paul was so impactful on the church. He completed the work of Vatican II. Today honors the last 50 years of what God has done in the church.”

In John Paul’s native Poland, bells rang out as soon as Francis pronounced the two men saints.

“He changed Poland and he changed us with his teaching and with his visits here,” an emotional Maria Jurek said as she watched the proceedings on giant TV screens at a sanctuary dedicated to John Paul in Krakow.

In the Philippines, where John Paul in 1995 drew the largest ever crowd for a papal Mass at 4 million, Filipinos watched the canonization on TV and joined local celebrations, including a suburban Manila parade of children dressed like the pope.

Yet the atmosphere in St. Peter’s seemed somber and subdued – perhaps because of the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep of many of the pilgrims who camped out on streets near the Vatican. It was a far different scene from the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification, when bands of young people sang, danced and cheered before, during and after the Mass.

Spirits though did pick up after the service when Francis drove through the square and all the way down to the Tiber River in his open-topped car, giving many people their first – and only – close-up glimpse of him.

The Vatican estimated that 800,000 people watched the Mass in Rome, with about 500,000 in the square and nearby streets and the rest watching on TV screens that had been set up in piazzas around town.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

And while it was supposed to be a canonization for two men, it was clear that the vast majority of people who turned out were there for John Paul.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of both new saints.

“In 1982, he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. About 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland also took part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Benedict’s presence on the altar with them was as remarkable as the historic canonization itself.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

During the Mass, Benedict sat off to the side of the altar with other cardinals, though he was clearly in a place of honor. He received the Italian president and a steady stream of cardinals. Francis himself embraced Benedict at the beginning and end of the service.

Benedict had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing the same white vestments and white bishops’ miter as other cardinals. The only difference was he had a white skullcap on rather than red.

Monika Scislowska contributed from Krakow, Poland and Jim Gomez and Rene Casibang contributed from Manila, Philippines.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Two 20th-century popes who changed the course of the Catholic Church became saints Sunday as Pope Francis honored John XXIII and John Paul II in a delicate balancing act aimed at bringing together the conservative and progressive wings of the church.

As if to drive the message of unity home, Francis invited retired Pope Benedict XVI to join him on the altar of St. Peter’s Square, the first time a reigning and retired pope have celebrated Mass together in public in the 2,000-year history of the church.

An estimated 800,000 people – many of them from John Paul’s native Poland – filled St. Peter’s, the streets around it and bridges over the Tiber River, a huge turnout but only half the size of the crowd that came out for John Paul’s 2011 beatification.

John reigned from 1958-1963 and is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened the Second Vatican Council. The meetings brought the church into the modern era by allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and encouraged greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his globe-trotting, quarter-century papacy, John Paul II helped topple communism and invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching on abortion, marriage and other hot-button issues heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

Benedict was one of John Paul’s closest confidantes and went on to preside over a deeply tradition-minded eight-year papacy. His successor Francis seems a pope much more inspired by the pastoral, simple style of the “good pope” John.

Yet Francis offered each new saint heartfelt praise in his homily, saying John had allowed himself to be led by God to call the council, and hailing John Paul’s focus on the family. It’s an issue that Francis has asked the church as a whole to take up for discussion with a two-year debate starting this fall.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.”

Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after his 2005 death, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” that erupted during his funeral Mass. John Paul’s canonization is now the fastest in modern times.

John’s sainthood run, on the other hand, languished after his 2000 beatification. Rather than let John Paul have the limelight with a canonization on his own – emboldening many in the conservative wing of the church – Francis decided to pair him up with John. To do so, Francis tweaked the Vatican’s own saint-making rules, deciding that John could be made a saint alongside John Paul without the necessary second miracle usually required.

Francis sounded a note of continuity in his homily, praising John for having called the council and John Paul for helping implement it.

“John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries,” Francis said.

During the ceremony, Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin, as if moved by the history he was about to make in canonizing two popes at once.

As soon as he did so, applause broke out from a crowd in St. Peter’s and beyond.

“This is such a historic moment,” marveled the Rev. Victor Perez, who brought a group of students from the John Paul High School in Houston, Texas and waited for nearly 12 hours to get near St. Peter’s. “John Paul was so impactful on the church. He completed the work of Vatican II. Today honors the last 50 years of what God has done in the church.”

In John Paul’s native Poland, bells rang out as soon as Francis pronounced the two men saints.

“He changed Poland and he changed us with his teaching and with his visits here,” an emotional Maria Jurek said as she watched the proceedings on giant TV screens at a sanctuary dedicated to John Paul in Krakow.

In the Philippines, where John Paul in 1995 drew the largest ever crowd for a papal Mass at 4 million, Filipinos watched the canonization on TV and joined local celebrations, including a suburban Manila parade of children dressed like the pope.

Yet the atmosphere in St. Peter’s seemed somber and subdued – perhaps because of the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep of many of the pilgrims who camped out on streets near the Vatican. It was a far different scene from the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification, when bands of young people sang, danced and cheered before, during and after the Mass.

Spirits though did pick up after the service when Francis drove through the square and all the way down to the Tiber River in his open-topped car, giving many people their first – and only – close-up glimpse of him.

The Vatican estimated that 800,000 people watched the Mass in Rome, with about 500,000 in the square and nearby streets and the rest watching on TV screens that had been set up in piazzas around town.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

And while it was supposed to be a canonization for two men, it was clear that the vast majority of people who turned out were there for John Paul.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of both new saints.

“In 1982, he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. About 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland also took part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Benedict’s presence on the altar with them was as remarkable as the historic canonization itself.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

During the Mass, Benedict sat off to the side of the altar with other cardinals, though he was clearly in a place of honor. He received the Italian president and a steady stream of cardinals. Francis himself embraced Benedict at the beginning and end of the service.

Benedict had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing the same white vestments and white bishops’ miter as other cardinals. The only difference was he had a white skullcap on rather than red.

Monika Scislowska contributed from Krakow, Poland and Jim Gomez and Rene Casibang contributed from Manila, Philippines.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Two 20th-century popes who changed the course of the Catholic Church became saints Sunday as Pope Francis honored John XXIII and John Paul II in a delicate balancing act aimed at bringing together the conservative and progressive wings of the church.

As if to drive the message of unity home, Francis invited retired Pope Benedict XVI to join him on the altar of St. Peter’s Square, the first time a reigning and retired pope have celebrated Mass together in public in the 2,000-year history of the church.

An estimated 800,000 people – many of them from John Paul’s native Poland – filled St. Peter’s, the streets around it and bridges over the Tiber River, a huge turnout but only half the size of the crowd that came out for John Paul’s 2011 beatification.

John reigned from 1958-1963 and is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened the Second Vatican Council. The meetings brought the church into the modern era by allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and encouraged greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his globe-trotting, quarter-century papacy, John Paul II helped topple communism and invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching on abortion, marriage and other hot-button issues heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

Benedict was one of John Paul’s closest confidantes and went on to preside over a deeply tradition-minded eight-year papacy. His successor Francis seems a pope much more inspired by the pastoral, simple style of the “good pope” John.

Yet Francis offered each new saint heartfelt praise in his homily, saying John had allowed himself to be led by God to call the council, and hailing John Paul’s focus on the family. It’s an issue that Francis has asked the church as a whole to take up for discussion with a two-year debate starting this fall.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.”

Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after his 2005 death, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” that erupted during his funeral Mass. John Paul’s canonization is now the fastest in modern times.

John’s sainthood run, on the other hand, languished after his 2000 beatification. Rather than let John Paul have the limelight with a canonization on his own – emboldening many in the conservative wing of the church – Francis decided to pair him up with John. To do so, Francis tweaked the Vatican’s own saint-making rules, deciding that John could be made a saint alongside John Paul without the necessary second miracle usually required.

Francis sounded a note of continuity in his homily, praising John for having called the council and John Paul for helping implement it.

“John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries,” Francis said.

During the ceremony, Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin, as if moved by the history he was about to make in canonizing two popes at once.

As soon as he did so, applause broke out from a crowd in St. Peter’s and beyond.

“This is such a historic moment,” marveled the Rev. Victor Perez, who brought a group of students from the John Paul High School in Houston, Texas and waited for nearly 12 hours to get near St. Peter’s. “John Paul was so impactful on the church. He completed the work of Vatican II. Today honors the last 50 years of what God has done in the church.”

In John Paul’s native Poland, bells rang out as soon as Francis pronounced the two men saints.

“He changed Poland and he changed us with his teaching and with his visits here,” an emotional Maria Jurek said as she watched the proceedings on giant TV screens at a sanctuary dedicated to John Paul in Krakow.

In the Philippines, where John Paul in 1995 drew the largest ever crowd for a papal Mass at 4 million, Filipinos watched the canonization on TV and joined local celebrations, including a suburban Manila parade of children dressed like the pope.

Yet the atmosphere in St. Peter’s seemed somber and subdued – perhaps because of the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep of many of the pilgrims who camped out on streets near the Vatican. It was a far different scene from the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification, when bands of young people sang, danced and cheered before, during and after the Mass.

Spirits though did pick up after the service when Francis drove through the square and all the way down to the Tiber River in his open-topped car, giving many people their first – and only – close-up glimpse of him.

The Vatican estimated that 800,000 people watched the Mass in Rome, with about 500,000 in the square and nearby streets and the rest watching on TV screens that had been set up in piazzas around town.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

And while it was supposed to be a canonization for two men, it was clear that the vast majority of people who turned out were there for John Paul.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of both new saints.

“In 1982, he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. About 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland also took part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Benedict’s presence on the altar with them was as remarkable as the historic canonization itself.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

During the Mass, Benedict sat off to the side of the altar with other cardinals, though he was clearly in a place of honor. He received the Italian president and a steady stream of cardinals. Francis himself embraced Benedict at the beginning and end of the service.

Benedict had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing the same white vestments and white bishops’ miter as other cardinals. The only difference was he had a white skullcap on rather than red.

Monika Scislowska contributed from Krakow, Poland and Jim Gomez and Rene Casibang contributed from Manila, Philippines.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Two 20th-century popes who changed the course of the Catholic Church became saints Sunday as Pope Francis honored John XXIII and John Paul II in a delicate balancing act aimed at bringing together the conservative and progressive wings of the church.

As if to drive the message of unity home, Francis invited retired Pope Benedict XVI to join him on the altar of St. Peter’s Square, the first time a reigning and retired pope have celebrated Mass together in public in the 2,000-year history of the church.

An estimated 800,000 people – many of them from John Paul’s native Poland – filled St. Peter’s, the streets around it and bridges over the Tiber River, a huge turnout but only half the size of the crowd that came out for John Paul’s 2011 beatification.

John reigned from 1958-1963 and is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened the Second Vatican Council. The meetings brought the church into the modern era by allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and encouraged greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his globe-trotting, quarter-century papacy, John Paul II helped topple communism and invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching on abortion, marriage and other hot-button issues heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

Benedict was one of John Paul’s closest confidantes and went on to preside over a deeply tradition-minded eight-year papacy. His successor Francis seems a pope much more inspired by the pastoral, simple style of the “good pope” John.

Yet Francis offered each new saint heartfelt praise in his homily, saying John had allowed himself to be led by God to call the council, and hailing John Paul’s focus on the family. It’s an issue that Francis has asked the church as a whole to take up for discussion with a two-year debate starting this fall.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.”

Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after his 2005 death, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” that erupted during his funeral Mass. John Paul’s canonization is now the fastest in modern times.

John’s sainthood run, on the other hand, languished after his 2000 beatification. Rather than let John Paul have the limelight with a canonization on his own – emboldening many in the conservative wing of the church – Francis decided to pair him up with John. To do so, Francis tweaked the Vatican’s own saint-making rules, deciding that John could be made a saint alongside John Paul without the necessary second miracle usually required.

Francis sounded a note of continuity in his homily, praising John for having called the council and John Paul for helping implement it.

“John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries,” Francis said.

During the ceremony, Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin, as if moved by the history he was about to make in canonizing two popes at once.

As soon as he did so, applause broke out from a crowd in St. Peter’s and beyond.

“This is such a historic moment,” marveled the Rev. Victor Perez, who brought a group of students from the John Paul High School in Houston, Texas and waited for nearly 12 hours to get near St. Peter’s. “John Paul was so impactful on the church. He completed the work of Vatican II. Today honors the last 50 years of what God has done in the church.”

In John Paul’s native Poland, bells rang out as soon as Francis pronounced the two men saints.

“He changed Poland and he changed us with his teaching and with his visits here,” an emotional Maria Jurek said as she watched the proceedings on giant TV screens at a sanctuary dedicated to John Paul in Krakow.

In the Philippines, where John Paul in 1995 drew the largest ever crowd for a papal Mass at 4 million, Filipinos watched the canonization on TV and joined local celebrations, including a suburban Manila parade of children dressed like the pope.

Yet the atmosphere in St. Peter’s seemed somber and subdued – perhaps because of the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep of many of the pilgrims who camped out on streets near the Vatican. It was a far different scene from the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification, when bands of young people sang, danced and cheered before, during and after the Mass.

Spirits though did pick up after the service when Francis drove through the square and all the way down to the Tiber River in his open-topped car, giving many people their first – and only – close-up glimpse of him.

The Vatican estimated that 800,000 people watched the Mass in Rome, with about 500,000 in the square and nearby streets and the rest watching on TV screens that had been set up in piazzas around town.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

And while it was supposed to be a canonization for two men, it was clear that the vast majority of people who turned out were there for John Paul.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of both new saints.

“In 1982, he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. About 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland also took part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Benedict’s presence on the altar with them was as remarkable as the historic canonization itself.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

During the Mass, Benedict sat off to the side of the altar with other cardinals, though he was clearly in a place of honor. He received the Italian president and a steady stream of cardinals. Francis himself embraced Benedict at the beginning and end of the service.

Benedict had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing the same white vestments and white bishops’ miter as other cardinals. The only difference was he had a white skullcap on rather than red.

Monika Scislowska contributed from Krakow, Poland and Jim Gomez and Rene Casibang contributed from Manila, Philippines.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis declared Popes John XXIII and John Paul II saints before some 800,000 people on Sunday in an unprecedented ceremony made even more historic by the presence of emeritus Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square.

Never before have a reigning pope and a retired pope celebrated Mass together in public, much less at an event honoring two of their most famous predecessors.

Benedict’s presence was a reflection of the balancing act that Francis envisioned when he decided to canonize John and John Paul together, showing the unity of the Catholic Church by honoring popes beloved by conservatives and progressives alike.

Francis made that point clear in his homily, praising both new saints for their work associated with the Second Vatican Council, the groundbreaking meetings that brought the 2,000-year-old institution into modern times. John convened the council in 1962 while John Paul helped ensure its more conservative implementation and interpretation.

“John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries,” Francis said.

He praised John for having allowed himself to be led by God to call the council, and he hailed John Paul’s focus on the family – an issue Francis has taken up himself.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.”

It was Benedict who put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after he died in 2005, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” that erupted during his funeral Mass. His canonization is now the fastest in modern times.

Francis then tweaked the Vatican’s own saint-making rules, deciding that John could be made a saint alongside him without the necessary second miracle usually required for canonization.

Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin at the start of the ceremony, as if moved by the history he was about to make in canonizing two popes at once.

He said that after deliberating, consulting and praying for divine assistance “we declare and define that 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.”

Applause broke out from a crowd that stretched from St. Peter’s to the Tiber River and beyond.

“This is such a historic moment,” marveled the Rev. Victor Perez, who brought a group from the John Paul High School in Houston, Texas and waited for nearly 12 hours to get near St. Peter’s. “John Paul was so impactful on the church. He completed the work of Vatican II. Today honors the last 50 years of what God has done in the church.”

In John Paul’s native Poland, bells rang out as soon as Francis pronounced the two men saints.

“He changed Poland and he changed us with his teaching and with his visits here,” an emotional Maria Jurek said as she watched the proceedings on giant TV screens at a sanctuary dedicated to John Paul in Krakow.

In the Philippines, where John Paul in 1995 drew the largest ever crowd for a papal Mass at 4 million, Filipinos watched the canonization on TV and joined local celebrations, including a suburban Manila parade of children dressed like the pope.

Yet the atmosphere in St. Peter’s seemed somber and subdued – perhaps due to the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep of many of the pilgrims who camped out on the streets near the Vatican or stayed up praying at the all-night vigils organized in churches around town. It was a far different scene than the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification, when bands of young people sang, danced and cheered before, during and after the Mass.

Spirits did pick up after the service when Francis drove through the crowds in his open-topped car all the way down to the Tiber River, giving many people their first – and only – close-up glimpse of him.

The Vatican estimated that 800,000 people watched the Mass in Rome, with about 500,000 in the square and nearby streets and the rest watching on TV screens that had been set up in piazzas around town.

By the time the ceremony began, Via della Conciliazione, the main boulevard leading from the square, nearby streets and the bridges across the Tiber were packed.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

“Four popes in one ceremony is a fantastic thing to see and to be at, because it is history being written in our sight,” marveled one of the visiting Poles, Dawid Halfar.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

During the Mass, Benedict sat off to the side of the altar with other cardinals, though he was clearly in a place of honor. He received the Italian president and a steady stream of cardinals, as well as Francis himself who embraced Benedict at the beginning and end of the service. Benedict had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing the same white vestments and white bishops’ miter as other cardinals. The only difference was he had a white skullcap on rather than red.

In a dress rehearsal of sorts, Benedict attended the February ceremony in which Francis installed 19 new cardinals. But celebrating Mass together with Francis was something else entirely, a first for the institution and a reflection of Francis’ desire to show the continuity in the papacy, despite different personalities, priorities and politics.

Pope John XIII, who reigned from 1958-1963, is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened Vatican II, which allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and encouraged greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his quarter-century papacy from 1978-2005, John Paul II helped topple communism through his support of Poland’s Solidarity movement. His globe-trotting papacy and launch of the wildly popular World Youth Days invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of the two new saints.

“In 1982 he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. Some 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland were also taking part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul – and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Monika Scislowska contributed from Krakow, Poland and Jim Gomez and Rene Casibang contributed from Manila, Philippines.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis declared Popes John XXIII and John Paul II saints before some 800,000 people on Sunday in an unprecedented ceremony made even more historic by the presence of emeritus Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square.

Never before have a reigning pope and a retired pope celebrated Mass together in public, much less at an event honoring two of their most famous predecessors.

Benedict’s presence was a reflection of the balancing act that Francis envisioned when he decided to canonize John and John Paul together, showing the unity of the Catholic Church by honoring popes beloved by conservatives and progressives alike.

Francis made that point clear in his homily, praising both new saints for their work associated with the Second Vatican Council, the groundbreaking meetings that brought the 2,000-year-old institution into modern times. John convened the council in 1962 while John Paul helped ensure its more conservative implementation and interpretation.

“John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries,” Francis said.

He praised John for having allowed himself to be led by God to call the council, and he hailed John Paul’s focus on the family – an issue Francis has taken up himself.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.”

It was Benedict who put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after he died in 2005, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” that erupted during his funeral Mass. His canonization is now the fastest in modern times.

Francis then tweaked the Vatican’s own saint-making rules, deciding that John could be made a saint alongside him without the necessary second miracle usually required for canonization.

Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin at the start of the ceremony, as if moved by the history he was about to make in canonizing two popes at once.

He said that after deliberating, consulting and praying for divine assistance “we declare and define that 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.”

Applause broke out from a crowd that stretched from St. Peter’s to the Tiber River and beyond.

“This is such a historic moment,” marveled the Rev. Victor Perez, who brought a group from the John Paul High School in Houston, Texas and waited for nearly 12 hours to get near St. Peter’s. “John Paul was so impactful on the church. He completed the work of Vatican II. Today honors the last 50 years of what God has done in the church.”

In John Paul’s native Poland, bells rang out as soon as Francis pronounced the two men saints.

“He changed Poland and he changed us with his teaching and with his visits here,” an emotional Maria Jurek said as she watched the proceedings on giant TV screens at a sanctuary dedicated to John Paul in Krakow.

In the Philippines, where John Paul in 1995 drew the largest ever crowd for a papal Mass at 4 million, Filipinos watched the canonization on TV and joined local celebrations, including a suburban Manila parade of children dressed like the pope.

Yet the atmosphere in St. Peter’s seemed somber and subdued – perhaps due to the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep of many of the pilgrims who camped out on the streets near the Vatican or stayed up praying at the all-night vigils organized in churches around town. It was a far different scene than the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification, when bands of young people sang, danced and cheered before, during and after the Mass.

Spirits did pick up after the service when Francis drove through the crowds in his open-topped car all the way down to the Tiber River, giving many people their first – and only – close-up glimpse of him.

The Vatican estimated that 800,000 people watched the Mass in Rome, with about 500,000 in the square and nearby streets and the rest watching on TV screens that had been set up in piazzas around town.

By the time the ceremony began, Via della Conciliazione, the main boulevard leading from the square, nearby streets and the bridges across the Tiber were packed.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

“Four popes in one ceremony is a fantastic thing to see and to be at, because it is history being written in our sight,” marveled one of the visiting Poles, Dawid Halfar.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

During the Mass, Benedict sat off to the side of the altar with other cardinals, though he was clearly in a place of honor. He received the Italian president and a steady stream of cardinals, as well as Francis himself who embraced Benedict at the beginning and end of the service. Benedict had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing the same white vestments and white bishops’ miter as other cardinals. The only difference was he had a white skullcap on rather than red.

In a dress rehearsal of sorts, Benedict attended the February ceremony in which Francis installed 19 new cardinals. But celebrating Mass together with Francis was something else entirely, a first for the institution and a reflection of Francis’ desire to show the continuity in the papacy, despite different personalities, priorities and politics.

Pope John XIII, who reigned from 1958-1963, is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened Vatican II, which allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and encouraged greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his quarter-century papacy from 1978-2005, John Paul II helped topple communism through his support of Poland’s Solidarity movement. His globe-trotting papacy and launch of the wildly popular World Youth Days invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of the two new saints.

“In 1982 he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. Some 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland were also taking part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul – and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Monika Scislowska contributed from Krakow, Poland and Jim Gomez and Rene Casibang contributed from Manila, Philippines.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis declared Popes John XXIII and John Paul II saints before some 800,000 people on Sunday in an unprecedented ceremony made even more historic by the presence of emeritus Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square.

Never before have a reigning pope and a retired pope celebrated Mass together in public, much less at an event honoring two of their most famous predecessors.

Benedict’s presence was a reflection of the balancing act that Francis envisioned when he decided to canonize John and John Paul together, showing the unity of the Catholic Church by honoring popes beloved by conservatives and progressives alike.

Francis made that point clear in his homily, praising both new saints for their work associated with the Second Vatican Council, the groundbreaking meetings that brought the 2,000-year-old institution into modern times. John convened the council in 1962 while John Paul helped ensure its more conservative implementation and interpretation.

“John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries,” Francis said.

He praised John for having allowed himself to be led by God to call the council, and he hailed John Paul’s focus on the family – an issue Francis has taken up himself.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.”

It was Benedict who put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after he died in 2005, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” that erupted during his funeral Mass. His canonization is now the fastest in modern times.

Francis then tweaked the Vatican’s own saint-making rules, deciding that John could be made a saint alongside him without the necessary second miracle usually required for canonization.

Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin at the start of the ceremony, as if moved by the history he was about to make in canonizing two popes at once.

He said that after deliberating, consulting and praying for divine assistance “we declare and define that 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.”

Applause broke out from a crowd that stretched from St. Peter’s to the Tiber River and beyond.

“This is such a historic moment,” marveled the Rev. Victor Perez, who brought a group from the John Paul High School in Houston, Texas and waited for nearly 12 hours to get near St. Peter’s. “John Paul was so impactful on the church. He completed the work of Vatican II. Today honors the last 50 years of what God has done in the church.”

In John Paul’s native Poland, bells rang out as soon as Francis pronounced the two men saints.

“He changed Poland and he changed us with his teaching and with his visits here,” an emotional Maria Jurek said as she watched the proceedings on giant TV screens at a sanctuary dedicated to John Paul in Krakow.

In the Philippines, where John Paul in 1995 drew the largest ever crowd for a papal Mass at 4 million, Filipinos watched the canonization on TV and joined local celebrations, including a suburban Manila parade of children dressed like the pope.

Yet the atmosphere in St. Peter’s seemed somber and subdued – perhaps due to the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep of many of the pilgrims who camped out on the streets near the Vatican or stayed up praying at the all-night vigils organized in churches around town. It was a far different scene than the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification, when bands of young people sang, danced and cheered before, during and after the Mass.

Spirits did pick up after the service when Francis drove through the crowds in his open-topped car all the way down to the Tiber River, giving many people their first – and only – close-up glimpse of him.

The Vatican estimated that 800,000 people watched the Mass in Rome, with about 500,000 in the square and nearby streets and the rest watching on TV screens that had been set up in piazzas around town.

By the time the ceremony began, Via della Conciliazione, the main boulevard leading from the square, nearby streets and the bridges across the Tiber were packed.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

“Four popes in one ceremony is a fantastic thing to see and to be at, because it is history being written in our sight,” marveled one of the visiting Poles, Dawid Halfar.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

During the Mass, Benedict sat off to the side of the altar with other cardinals, though he was clearly in a place of honor. He received the Italian president and a steady stream of cardinals, as well as Francis himself who embraced Benedict at the beginning and end of the service. Benedict had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing the same white vestments and white bishops’ miter as other cardinals. The only difference was he had a white skullcap on rather than red.

In a dress rehearsal of sorts, Benedict attended the February ceremony in which Francis installed 19 new cardinals. But celebrating Mass together with Francis was something else entirely, a first for the institution and a reflection of Francis’ desire to show the continuity in the papacy, despite different personalities, priorities and politics.

Pope John XIII, who reigned from 1958-1963, is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened Vatican II, which allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and encouraged greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his quarter-century papacy from 1978-2005, John Paul II helped topple communism through his support of Poland’s Solidarity movement. His globe-trotting papacy and launch of the wildly popular World Youth Days invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of the two new saints.

“In 1982 he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. Some 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland were also taking part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul – and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Monika Scislowska contributed from Krakow, Poland and Jim Gomez and Rene Casibang contributed from Manila, Philippines.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis declared his two predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints before some 800,000 people on Sunday, an unprecedented ceremony made even more historic by the presence in St. Peter’s Square of emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

Never before have a reigning pope and a retired pope celebrated Mass together in public, much less at an event honoring two of their most famous predecessors.

Benedict’s presence was a reflection of the balancing act that Francis envisioned when he decided to canonize John and John Paul together, showing the unity of the Catholic Church by honoring popes beloved to conservatives and progressives alike.

Francis made that point clear in his homily, praising both men for their work associated with the Second Vatican Council, the groundbreaking meetings that brought the 2,000-year-old institution into modern times. John convened the council while John Paul helped ensure its more conservative implementation and interpretation.

“John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries,” Francis said.

He praised John for having allowed himself to be led by God to call the council, and he hailed John Paul’s focus on the family – an issue Francis has taken up himself.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.”

It was Benedict who put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after he died in 2005, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” that erupted during his funeral Mass. His canonization is now the fastest in modern times.

Francis then tweaked the Vatican’s own saint-making rules, deciding that John could be made a saint without the necessary second miracle usually required for canonization.

Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin at the start of the ceremony, as if moved by the history he was about to make in canonizing two popes at once.

He said that after deliberating, consulting and praying for divine assistance “we declare and define that 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.”

Applause broke out from a crowd that stretched from St. Peter’s to the Tiber River and beyond.

“This is such a historic moment,” marveled the Rev. Victor Perez, who brought a group from the John Paul High School in Houston, Texas and waited for nearly 12 hours to get near St. Peter’s. “John Paul was so impactful on the church. He completed the work of Vatican II. Today honors the last 50 years of what God has done in the church.”

In John Paul’s native Poland, bells tolled as soon as Francis pronounced the two men saints.

“He changed Poland and he changed us with his teaching and with his visits here,” an emotional Maria Jurek said as she watched the proceedings on giant TV screens at a sanctuary dedicated to John Paul in Krakow.

Yet the atmosphere in St. Peter’s seemed somber and subdued – perhaps due to the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep – unlike the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification when bands of young people sang and danced in the hours before and after the Mass.

The Vatican estimated that 800,000 people watched the Mass in Rome, with about 500,000 in the square and nearby streets and the rest watching on TV screens that had been set up in piazzas around downtown.

By the time the ceremony began, Via della Conciliazione, the main boulevard leading from the square, nearby streets and the bridges across the Tiber were packed.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

“Four popes in one ceremony is a fantastic thing to see and to be at, because it is history being written in our sight,” marveled one of the visiting Poles, Dawid Halfar.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

During the Mass, Benedict sat off to the side of the altar with other cardinals, though he was clearly in a place of honor. He received the Italian president and a steady stream of cardinals, as well as Francis himself at the beginning and end of the service. Benedict had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing white vestments and white bishops’ miter.

In a dress rehearsal of sorts, Benedict attended the February ceremony in which Francis installed 19 new cardinals. But celebrating Mass together with Francis was something else entirely, a first for the institution and a reflection of Francis’ desire to show the continuity in the papacy, despite different personalities, priorities and politics.

Pope John XIII, who reigned from 1958-1963, is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened Vatican II, which allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and encouraged greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his quarter-century papacy from 1978-2005, John Paul II helped topple communism through his support of Poland’s Solidarity movement. His globe-trotting papacy and launch of the wildly popular World Youth Days invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of the two new saints.

“In 1982 he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. Some 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland were also taking part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul – and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Monika Scislowska contributed from Krakow, Poland.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis declared his two predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints before some 800,000 people on Sunday, an unprecedented ceremony made even more historic by the presence in St. Peter’s Square of emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

Never before has a reigning and retired pope celebrated Mass together in public, much less at an event honoring two of their most famous predecessors.

Benedict’s presence was a reflection of the balancing act that Francis envisioned when he decided to canonize John and John Paul together, showing the unity of the Catholic Church by honoring popes beloved to conservatives and progressives alike.

Francis made that point clear in his homily, praising both men for their work associated with the Second Vatican Council, the groundbreaking meetings that brought the 2,000-year-old institution into modern times. John convened the council while John Paul helped ensure its more conservative implementation and interpretation.

“John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries,” Francis said.

He praised John for having allowed himself to be led by God to call the council, and he hailed John Paul’s focus on the family – an issue Francis has taken up himself.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.”

It was Benedict who put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after he died in 2005, responding to the chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” that erupted during his funeral Mass. His canonization is now the fastest in modern times.

Francis then tweaked the Vatican’s own saint-making rules, deciding that John could be made a saint without the necessary second miracle usually required for canonization.

Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin at the start of the ceremony, as if moved by the history he was about to make in canonizing two popes at once.

He said that after deliberating, consulting and praying for divine assistance “we declare and define that 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.”

Applause broke out from a crowd that stretched from St. Peter’s to the Tiber River and beyond.

“This is such a historic moment,” marveled the Rev. Victor Perez, who brought a group from the John Paul High School in Houston, Texas and waited for nearly 12 hours to get near St. Peter’s. “John Paul was so impactful on the church. He completed the work of Vatican II. Today honors the last 50 years of what God has done in the church.”

In John Paul’s native Poland, bells tolled as soon as Francis pronounced the two men saints.

“He changed Poland and he changed us with his teaching and with his visits here,” an emotional Maria Jurek said as she watched the proceedings on giant TV screens at a sanctuary dedicated to John Paul in Krakow.

Yet the atmosphere in St. Peter’s seemed somber and subdued – perhaps due to the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep – unlike the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification when bands of young people sang and danced in the hours before and after the Mass.

The Vatican estimated that 800,000 people watched the Mass in Rome, with about 500,000 in the square and nearby streets and the rest watching on TV screens that had been set up in piazzas around downtown.

By the time the ceremony began, Via della Conciliazione, the main boulevard leading from the square, nearby streets and the bridges across the Tiber were packed.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

“Four popes in one ceremony is a fantastic thing to see and to be at, because it is history being written in our sight,” marveled one of the visiting Poles, Dawid Halfar.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

During the Mass, Benedict sat off to the side of the altar with other cardinals, though he was clearly in a place of honor. He received the Italian president and a steady stream of cardinals, as well as Francis himself at the beginning and end of the service. Benedict had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing white vestments and white bishops’ miter.

In a dress rehearsal of sorts, Benedict attended the February ceremony in which Francis installed 19 new cardinals. But celebrating Mass together with Francis was something else entirely, a first for the institution and a reflection of Francis’ desire to show the continuity in the papacy, despite different personalities, priorities and politics.

Pope John XIII, who reigned from 1958-1963, is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened Vatican II, which allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and encouraged greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his quarter-century papacy from 1978-2005, John Paul II helped topple communism through his support of Poland’s Solidarity movement. His globe-trotting papacy and launch of the wildly popular World Youth Days invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of the two new saints.

“In 1982 he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. Some 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland were also taking part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul – and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Monika Scislowska contributed from Krakow, Poland.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis declared his two predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints on Sunday before hundreds of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square, an unprecedented ceremony made even more historic by the presence of retired Pope Benedict XVI.

Never before has a reigning and retired pope celebrated Mass together in public, much less at an event honoring two of their most famous predecessors.

Benedict’s presence was a reflection of the balancing act that Francis envisioned when he decided to canonize John and John Paul together, showing the unity of the Catholic Church by honoring popes beloved to conservatives and progressives alike.

Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin, as if moved by the history he was about to make.

He said that after deliberating, consulting and praying for divine assistance “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.”

Applause broke out from a crowd that stretched from St. Peter’s to the Tiber River and beyond.

Benedict was sitting off to the side of the altar with other cardinals. He had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing white vestments and white bishops’ miter. He stood to greet Italy’s president and later Francis when he arrived, and sang along during the hymns that followed the canonization rite.

Italy’s interior ministry predicted 1 million people would watch the Mass from the square, the streets surrounding it and nearby piazzas where giant TV screens were set up to accommodate the crowds eager to follow along.

By the time the ceremony began, Via della Conciliazione, the main boulevard leading from the square, nearby streets and the bridges across the Tiber were packed.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

“Four popes in one ceremony is a fantastic thing to see and to be at, because it is history being written in our sight,” marveled one of the visiting Poles, David Halfar. “It is wonderful to be a part in this and to live all of this.”

Most of those who arrived first at St. Peter’s had camped out overnight nearby on air mattresses and sleeping pads. Others hadn’t slept at all and took part in the all-night prayer vigils hosted at a dozen churches in downtown Rome.

By mid-morning, the scene in the square was quiet and subdued – perhaps due to the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep – unlike the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification when bands of young people sang and danced in the hours before the Mass.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

In a dress rehearsal of sorts, Benedict attended the February ceremony in which Francis installed 19 new cardinals. But celebrating Mass together with Francis was something else entirely, a first for the 2,000-year-old institution and a reflection of Francis’ desire to show the continuity in the papacy, despite different personalities, priorities and politics.

Pope John XIII, who reigned from 1958-1963, is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened the Second Vatican Council. The meetings brought the church into the modern era by allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and by encouraging greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his quarter-century papacy from 1978-2005, John Paul II helped topple communism through his support of Poland’s Solidarity movement. His globe-trotting papacy and launch of the wildly popular World Youth Days invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of the two new saints.

“In 1982 he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. Some 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland were also taking part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul – and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Francis presides over historic day of 4 popes

KDWN

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis declared his two predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints on Sunday before hundreds of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square, an unprecedented ceremony made even more historic by the presence of retired Pope Benedict XVI.

Never before has a reigning and retired pope celebrated Mass together in public, much less at an event honoring two of their most famous predecessors.

Benedict’s presence was a reflection of the balancing act that Francis envisioned when he decided to canonize John and John Paul together, showing the unity of the Catholic Church by honoring popes beloved to conservatives and progressives alike.

Francis took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the saint-making formula in Latin, as if moved by the history he was about to make.

He said that after deliberating, consulting and praying for divine assistance “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.”

Applause broke out from a crowd that stretched from St. Peter’s to the Tiber River and beyond.

Benedict was sitting off to the side of the altar with other cardinals. He had arrived in the square on his own to cheers and applause, wearing white vestments and white bishops’ miter. He stood to greet Italy’s president and later Francis when he arrived, and sang along during the hymns that followed the canonization rite.

Italy’s interior ministry predicted 1 million people would watch the Mass from the square, the streets surrounding it and nearby piazzas where giant TV screens were set up to accommodate the crowds eager to follow along.

By the time the ceremony began, Via della Conciliazione, the main boulevard leading from the square, nearby streets and the bridges across the Tiber were packed.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul’s beloved homeland had been among the first to push into the square well before sunrise, as the human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order finally gave up and let them in.

“Four popes in one ceremony is a fantastic thing to see and to be at, because it is history being written in our sight,” marveled one of the visiting Poles, David Halfar. “It is wonderful to be a part in this and to live all of this.”

Most of those who arrived first at St. Peter’s had camped out overnight nearby on air mattresses and sleeping pads. Others hadn’t slept at all and took part in the all-night prayer vigils hosted at a dozen churches in downtown Rome.

By mid-morning, the scene in the square was quiet and subdued – perhaps due to the chilly gray skies and cumulative lack of sleep – unlike the rollicking party atmosphere of John Paul’s May 2011 beatification when bands of young people sang and danced in the hours before the Mass.

Benedict had promised to remain “hidden from the world” after resigning last year, but Francis has coaxed him out of retirement and urged him to take part in the public life of the church.

In a dress rehearsal of sorts, Benedict attended the February ceremony in which Francis installed 19 new cardinals. But celebrating Mass together with Francis was something else entirely, a first for the 2,000-year-old institution and a reflection of Francis’ desire to show the continuity in the papacy, despite different personalities, priorities and politics.

Pope John XIII, who reigned from 1958-1963, is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened the Second Vatican Council. The meetings brought the church into the modern era by allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin and by encouraging greater dialogue with people of other faiths, particularly Jews.

During his quarter-century papacy from 1978-2005, John Paul II helped topple communism through his support of Poland’s Solidarity movement. His globe-trotting papacy and launch of the wildly popular World Youth Days invigorated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of core church teaching heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.

“John Paul was our pope,” said Therese Andjoua, a 49-year-old nurse who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, with some 300 other pilgrims to attend. She sported a traditional African dress bearing the images of the two new saints.

“In 1982 he came to Gabon and when he arrived he kissed the ground and told us to `Get up, go forward and be not afraid,’” she recalled as she rested against a pallet of water bottles. “When we heard he was going to be canonized, we got up.”

Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 90 countries attended. Some 20 Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, Italy, Francis’ native Argentina and Poland were also taking part, in a clear sign of their appreciation for the great strides made in Catholic-Jewish relations under John, John Paul – and their successors celebrating their sainthood.

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield