By National Mirror
Six months from now, the world will have two new saints…in one day.

PopeJohnPaul II

JohnXXIII

In an unprecedented ceremony expected to attract thousands of pilgrims to the Vatican and keenly watched by over one billion Catholics around the world, John Paul II, and John XXIII will be declared saints on the same day-April 27, 2014.

The canonisation will be historical, not just because it will see two popes declared saints on the same day but also because the two left an indelible mark in the history of the church.

John Paul II’s progression to sainthood will be the fastest in modern times. He was elected Pope in 1978, died in 2005 and becomes saint in 2014-nine years after his death.

Blessed John XXIII on the other hand is commonly referred to as ‘the good Pope’ and was the chief architect of Second Vatican Council.

Canonization is a legal process in the Roman Catholic Church whereby a deceased servant of God, already beatified, is declared a saint. Beyond the heroic virtue and miraculous power verified at beatification stage, saints must perform at least two additional recognised miracles.

Miracle of Blessed John Paul II
Blessed John Paul II first reported miracle involved his intercession in the case of Sr. Marie Simon Pierre, a French nun whose recovery from Parkinson’s disease-the same ailment that the late Pope suffered from before his death- has been declared a miracle.

The second miracle was his intercession in the miraculous healing of Floribeth Mora, a 50-year-old law student from Costa Rica whose cerebral aneurism was inexplicably cured on May,1,2011, the very day of John Paul’s beatification. Doctors had been given her a month to live.

Two confirmed miracles are usually required under Vatican rules for the declaration of a saint, but in John Paul II’s case, more miracles may been on the line up, including how he survived the assassins bullet fired at close range and his spirit of forgiveness.

One known miracle for John XXIII
In the case of Pope John XXIII, Pope Francis has waived the customary rule requiring two miracles after beatification. So far, only one miracle has officially been attributed John XXXIII.

But The Good Pope, as he is commonly called by thousands of his admirers has for decades been venerated by many who recall his kindness. Although he was Pope for less than five years, his short pontificate rein coincided with the post-World War II global economic crisis and is credited with Italy’s “economic miracle,” one that transformed a devastated agricultural backwater to an international economic power.

Besides, John XXIII’S reformation credentials as the architect of the pivotal second Vatican council are not a minimal grace, something that resonates well with Pope Francis, who is trying to instil a spirit of simplicity and fresh reforms in the Church since his election in March 2013.

The two Popes’ legacy stretches beyond the corridors of Vatican.

The first non-Italian Pontiff in 450 years, John Paul II revolutionized how the Church’s followers relate to the Pope. He had a way with the people-His crowds were some of the largest ever assembled in world, something that earned him the nickname Religious Rock Star in sections of international media.

The first Polish Pope, John Paul was a tireless evangelist, and a strong foe of communism and poverty. His early life labouring under a Communist regime in Poland, his incredible series of papal trips-he visited more than 125 countries, logging 680,000 miles of travel-and his long battle against Parkinson’s disease showed the world his spiritual grit.

John XXIII, on the other hand, steered the Church towards a radical transformation. His brainchild-The Second Vatican Council-became a pivotal instrument of evangelization; one that steered the Church through tumultuous waves of the ‘modernity’.

Despite his age, John XXIII was not, as some would have him, just a jolly, old man. He was also a veteran diplomat, well-read expert in Church history, who was able to deftly steer the Church towards renewal.

Both John XXIII and John Paul II share one quality: a deep pastoral concern for the Church. Their papacy converges at the Second Vatican Council as a Gospel event of love and peace on earth, through the Church as a generous and thoughtful mother who is close to every human being and gives comfort, help, support and hope.

The canonisation of the two Popes shall be watched keenly by over 10 million Catholics in Kenya, who are eagerly following the beatification process of one of their most celebrated sons-the late Maurice Michael Cardinal Otunga.

Last month, the beatification process of Cardinal Otunga moved a notch higher following the completion of the diocesan phase. According the Vice postulator of the process, Br. Reginald Cruz, the beatification tribunal documented 171 pieces of evidence.

These have been forwarded to the Congregation of the Cause of Saints in Vatican, moving Otunga’s beatification process to the Roman phase which, if successful, will see the late Cardinal proclaimed Venerable, edging him closer to sainthood.

Since Vatican Council I, canonization is considered an infallible papal act, thus guaranteeing that the new saints are worthy of veneration and are able to intercede for the faithful

Additional Reporting By Fr. Paulino Mondo and Agencies

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