When will Pope Francis canonize his two predecessors, Blessed Pope John Paul II and Blessed Pope John XXIII?
Early speculation regarding the date for Blessed Pope John Paul II was October 20—the nearest Sunday to JPII’s October 22 feast day.
Then it was announced that Pope Francis had also cleared the way for Pope John XXIII to be canonized. Would the date be changed?
But now, Catholic News Service seems to have gotten the inside scoop. Cindy Wooden, traveling aboard the airplane from Rio back to Rome with Pope Francis, quotes the Holy Father:
Looking ahead, Pope Francis said he was looking forward to canonizing Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II, but choosing a date has become tricky.
First, he said, he thought the Dec. 8 feast of the Immaculate Conception would be appropriate, but that would make it difficult for poorer Polish pilgrims who would have to travel winter roads by bus. The late-November feast of Christ the King — which also is the end of the Year of Faith — is a possibility, he said, but it is probably not enough time to prepare. The best guess, he said, is Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27, the Sunday after Easter in 2014.
So there you have it. Things could still change, though, so don’t buy your plane ticket yet!
By the way, just in case you’re confused about this: Canonization does not mean that the Church approves one’s entrance into heaven. If that were true, then most of us would never get inside the pearly gates!
No, canonization is the formal recognition by the Catholic Church that because of a person’s good and holy life, he or she is already in heaven. A canonized saint is held up as a model for Christians to emulate; and the official acknowledgement that the person is in heaven, and therefore has the ear of God in a special way, means that Catholics here on earth can pray to the saint, asking him or her to intervene with God in asking special favors or blessings.