Vatican Declares Popes John Paul II And John XXIII Saints

A mass co-celebrated by Pope Francis and his predecessor Benedict was watched by roughly 1 million pilgrims.

1. Popes John XXIII and John Paul II were canonized Sunday by Pope Francis in a ceremony witnessed by huge crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City.

AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

2. The mass was co-celebrated by Pope Francis’ predecessor Benedict and was watched by roughly 1 million pilgrims and a vast TV and radio audience.

AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis

3. Some waited for more than 12 hours along the main street leading to the Vatican before police opened up the square at 5:30 a.m.

AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

4. Nearly 100 foreign delegations attended, including royal dignitaries and heads of state and government.

AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

Belgium’s King Albert II (left) and Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia sit in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Sunday, April 27.

5. It’s the first time two popes have been canonised at once.

AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

6. Some analysts say the move is an attempt to unite conservative and reformist camps within the Roman Catholic Church.

AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

John XXIII is seen as the pope who set off the reform movement, while John Paul II is felt to be the pope who applied the brakes.

7. The majority of the pilgrims were Polish.

AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca

Many of them carried red and white flags, a reflection of the affection felt for John Paul II in his homeland, Poland.

8. John Paul II’s canonization is one of the quickest in modern times.

Agencja Gazeta / Reuters

Pope Benedict waived a rule that normally requires a five-year waiting period before the preliminaries to sainthood can even begin.

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