Why Popes John XXIII, John Paul II are dear to Pinoys
The twin canonization is seen by Vatican watchers as an attempt to breach a traditional left-right divide in the Church.
As the Vatican welcomes pilgrims from all over the world to witness the ceremony, relics and images are being shown in the Philippines for those who couldn't make it to the Vatican.
The country has a lot of reasons to celebrate the canonization of the two popes because they established a connection with Filipinos.
Pope John XXIII
- The Pontificio Collegio Filippino, which serves as residence of priests studying in Rome, was established in 1961 under his watch. He blessed both the cornerstones for the building in 1959, and the constructed edifice in 1961.
- During the inauguration of the building, the pope said: "These buildings destined for the formation of your students of sacred sciences will be like channels by which the catholic life will be promoted among you and the bond by which the Philippines, a nation so very dear to us, will more intensely be linked with the supreme magisterium of the Church."
- Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes recalled him saying "many rivers and plenty of rains will not extinguish my love for the Philippine Islands [and] for the Filipino people."
- The pope installed the very first Filipino cardinal, Rufino Cardinal Santos, in 1960. It was Santos who proposed establishing the Pontificio Collegio Filippino, which the pope approved. Santos served as cardinal until his death in 1973.
- Among the dioceses created in the country under his watch are the Dioceses of Imus and Malolos in 1961, and the Dioceses of Nueva Ecija and Tarlac in 1963.
- In 1959, the pope sent a message to the Pax Romana Assembly, a gathering of Catholic intellectuals, which happened in Manila in 1959. The letter, which was written in Spanish, stated: "We, through this message, not only give you our greetings and our warmest wishes for the success of this meeting and our living breath, but also express the deep joy of knowing that your common meetings are held for the first time in Asia."
Pope John Paul II
- The pope visited the country twice during his term in the Holy See: first in 1981 to beatify Lorenzo Ruiz, and second in 1995, to celebrate World Youth Day.
- In 1973, 5 years before becoming a pope, he actually paid a brief stopover in the country. Then an unknown archbishop, he just took a cab from the airport to Baclaran where he celebrated mass. He was fascinated by the Filipinos' Marian devotion.
- He wanted to return to the country, but never had the chance to. He wanted to attend the World Meeting of Families in Manila in 2003, but was prevented by his deteriorating health due to Parkinson's disease.
- During the fall of the Marcos regime in February 1986, president Ferdinand Marcos received a letter from the pope, who was asking for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
- He welcomed Corazon Aquino during her visit to the Vatican in 1988.
- The pope appointed 2 Filipino cardinals (Ricardo Vidal in 1985, and Jose Tomas Sanchez in 1991), and approved the establishment of various dioceses in the country. – Rappler.com