Well the news is out! Yesterday Pope Francis announced that the canonization of both Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II is to take place on April 27, 2014, the day the Church celebrates the Second Sunday of Easter, or Divine Mercy Sunday.
This is a special day for Blessed John Paul II, for he instituted Divine Mercy Sunday in 2000, he died on the vigil of the feast in 2005, and he was beatified on Divine Mercy Sunday by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2011.
Of course, we here at the Shrine couldn’t be more excited. Yesterday was full of visitors, celebrations, and prayers. In his homily for Mass celebrating the canonization announcement, our Chaplain Fr. Gregory Gresko introduced the congregation to the first-class relic of the soon to be canonized Blessed John Paul II, hosted on the altar for veneration:
In the relic we have before us today, we encounter evidence from Blessed John Paul II’s own life of the extent to which he would go in order to show God’s Love. This first-class relic -- containing a piece of the white papal cassock he was wearing that became soaked with his blood when his would-be assassin attempted to take his life by shooting him in Saint Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981 – is a sign of John Paul II’s gift of himself to the Church, to you and to me, his personal testimony that shows us what it means to be a witness to God’s Love…
Fr. Gresko’s full homily is worth the read! For more on happenings at the Shrine yesterday, check out this report from the Catholic News Service. It includes some sneak peaks of our re-modeled Be Not Afraid exhibit.
Blessed John Paul II, Pray for Us!