Pope John Paul II to be declared saint on April 27
April 25, 2014
Vatican getting ready for celebrations
John Paul II, the Polish-born pontiff who led the Roman Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005 will be declared a saint on April 27, 2014 sharing his upcoming canonization with that of Pope John XXIII, who was known as the "good pope" and reigned from 1958 to 1963.
The Polish pope is set for the fastest canonizing in modern history of the Catholic Church following his death in 2005, while Pope John XXII, who died in 1963, has had to wait 51 years for his sainthood.
Some 19 heads of state including Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and his wife Anna, and prime ministers and diplomats from 54 countries as well as at least one million of pilgrims are expected to attend the ceremony in St. Peter's Square in Vatican, Rome.
Some 1,700 coaches and 58 charter flights will bring Polish pilgrims to Rome. One group of Polish pilgrims is making the 2,000-mile trek on horseback, dressed in medieval costumes, to celebrate JPII’s canonization.
Two miracles are usually required before a candidate can be considered for sainthood. The first miracle John Paul was credited with was the healing of a French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, whose recovery from Parkinson's disease after praying for his "intercession" apparently had no medical explanation. This miracle led to his beatification in 2011.
John Paul’s second miracle was approved by Pope Francis in May 2011. A Costa Rican woman is said to have made a miraculous recovery from a brain aneurysm on May 1, 2011, the day John Paul was beatified.
Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the Polish priest who has spearheaded John Paul II's fast-track to sainthood said that he had met the Pope at a university and he saw him as a "future saint" because of his prayer habits and reflections on the value of life.
Liberio Andreatta, head of a pilgrimage agency affiliated with the Vatican said at a press conference: “An event is due to take place in Rome that has never occurred throughout history: two popes will be canonized together while two popes are still alive,” he said.
Pope John Paul II became the first ever Polish pontiff when he was elected in October 1978. He held the office until his death on 2 April 2005, becoming the second longest serving pontiff in the history of the papacy.