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Popes John Paul II, John XXIII To Become Saints Next April

The Vatican said Monday that it has set April 27, 2014, as the date that popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be "raised to sainthood."

Their canonization will come on "the Second Sunday of Easter and Divine Mercy," the Holy See added.

That date has significance because in 2000, as AmericanCatholic.org writes, Pope John Paul II celebrated at the canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska and declared that "from now on throughout the Church this Sunday will be called Divine Mercy Sunday." The Polish-born Helena Kowalska, who as a young woman became Sister Faustina, reported seeing visions of Jesus Christ and "devoted the rest of her life to spreading the message of divine mercy and the growth of popular devotion to it."

John Paul II was pope from October 1978 until his death in April 2005. John XXIII was pope from October 1958 until his death in June 1963. Pope Francis announced in July that they would be made saints. As we wrote then:

"A committee of theologians [recently] approved a second miracle attributed to Pope John Paul II's posthumous intercession — a sine qua non for sainthood. That miracle involved a Costa Rican woman. It's believed she was cured of a severe brain injury after her family prayed to the memory of the late pope. ...

"Pope John XXIII is being made a saint even though theologians have not attributed two miracles to him — as normally required for sainthood. Pope Francis has apparently decided to make John XXIII a saint in part because of the work that pope did during the Second Vatican Council and the reforms that followed."

National Catholic Reporter writes that "next April's sainthood ceremony will no doubt see large crowds gather at the Vatican from around the world to take part, perhaps particularly pilgrims from John Paul II's native Poland."

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