Happy Easter my young friends,
This past Sunday, April 27, we celebrated something truly wonderful when Pope Francis canonized Popes John XXIII and John Paul II in a ceremony attended by nearly 1 million. Both of these men are 20th century popes, which makes their elevation to sainthood even more special. They are now called St. John the XXIII and St. John Paul II.
Your grandparents, and certainly great-grandparents, will probably remember Pope Saint John XXIII, as he served in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He is best known for calling the Second Vatican Council, which helped to bring the church closer to the people. One change that came from the council is that Mass is now said in many languages, not just the traditional Latin.
St. John Paul II is someone you may remember. He is certainly someone you have heard about, and he is likely the first pope your parents knew growing up. St. John Paul II was the second longest serving pope at nearly 27 years. He is probably best known for helping to end communism and for improving relations between the Catholic Church and other religions. He traveled extensively during his papacy and was well loved by all.
How exciting it is, too, that the pope to succeed Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, was also in attendance to celebrate with Pope Francis this historic event. We are truly blessed in our day to have the influence of both these men in our church.
St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II, pray for us.