Tagle to lead PH tribute to twin papal canonization
MANILA, Philippines – As thousands gather in Vatican City in Rome for the historic twin canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II on Sunday, April 27, Filipinos join the celebration by paying tribute to the two revered leaders of modern-day Catholicism.
In the predominantly Catholic Philippines, thousands are expected to attend the event, “Shepherds, Servants and Saints,” at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jointly organized by the J. Amado Araneta Foundation, Araneta Center, Jesuit Communications and the Archdiocese of Manila, the event will feature a live feed of the rites at the Vatican, where Pope Francis will proclaim Italian Pope John XXIII and Polish Pope John Paul II as saints.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle will preside over the Holy Mass.
The Araneta event comes as Filipino Catholics also celebrate the Year of the Laity.
Jesuit Communications (JesCom) said the Year of the Laity “echoes Pope John Paul II’s exhortation for everyone to be shepherds, servants and saints.”
Loved by Filipinos
The two popes are beloved to Filipinos.
John XXIII named the first Filipino cardinal, Rufino Cardinal Santos.
The globe-trotting John Paul II visited Manila twice: in 1981, when he beatified the Philippines’ first saint, Lorenzo Ruiz; and in 1995, during the World Youth Day celebrations.
Petronila Grafela of the Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of the Eucharistic King was present when the charismatic pope visited the Philippines. She said Sunday's tribute to John Paul II is fitting because of his significance to many Filipino Catholics.
“He visited the Philippines twice. It shows that the Philippines is important to the Church,” she said.
“You can see the presence of Christ in the person of John Paul II,” she added.
John Paul II was popular throughout his 27-year papacy, prompting the Vatican to fast-track his path to sainthood after mourners cried “Santo Subito!” (Sainthood Now!) at his 2005 funeral.
His term, however, was criticized by some for being conservative and for failing to address reports of alleged sexual abuse by priests.
John XXIII, called “Good Pope John,” was credited for convening the Second Vatican Council, which overhauled the Church’s rituals and ushered a wave of reforms to open the Church to modern times.
Grafela said these reforms made the Church closer to the people, emphasizing the important role of the faithful in the strength and growth of the Church.
“John XXIII underscored the importance of the laity,” said Grafela. “Before, Church hierarchy was considered more important. But now, the Church has become aware that it needs to be at the service of the laity, that the Church is really a community of God.”
Path to sainthood
It takes two confirmed miracles to be declared a saint.
John Paul II was beatified 6 years after his death following what was considered the miraculous healing of a French nun who suffered from Parkinson’s disease.
His second miracle was the curing of a Costa Rican woman suffering from a serious brain condition, who was reportedly healed on the same day of the former pope’s beatification.
The reportedly miraculous recovery of an Italian nun who had severe internal hemorrhages was attributed to John XXIII.
In a rare move, Pope Francis waived the requirement of a second miracle.
The 3-hour ceremony is expected to begin with prayers and hymns at around 10 am CEST (4 pm Manila time).
After the roll call of the Church’s saints (the Litany), Pope Francis will be asked 3 times to include John XXIII and John Paul II among the saints.
Pope Francis will then pronounce the two popes new saints. Their relics will be brought to the altar: blood for John Paul II, and skin for John XXIII.
Pope Francis will draw an official document of the canonization. The rites will end with the singing of “Gloria,” and the Mass will take place.
Bridging the church divide
Some analysts said the twin canonization was Pope Francis’ attempt to bridge the left-right divide in the Church and placate various political factions.
By canonizing both popes – one considered “liberal” and one “conservative,” Vatican watchers said Pope Francis was propagating his message of unity.
John Allen, from US weekly National Catholic Reporter, earlier said the decision could be interpreted as "a statement that any attempt to set them at odds is artificial, and that what they had in common is more fundamental than any perceived differences." – Rappler.com