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.
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.
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.
4. Nearly 100 foreign delegations attended, including royal dignitaries and heads of state and government.
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.
6. Some analysts say the move is an attempt to unite conservative and reformist camps within the Roman Catholic Church.
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.
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.
Pope Benedict waived a rule that normally requires a five-year waiting period before the preliminaries to sainthood can even begin.