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Rome Reports

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Five years since John Paul II's canonization

It has been five years since tens of thousands of pilgrims slept in the streets of Rome, close to the Vatican. This was so they could secure a place for the canonization ceremony of John Paul II and John XXIII.

At 5:30 a.m. pilgrims were allowed access to the square, and in less than an hour St. Peter's Square was overcrowded.

The first thing people saw entering the square were the tapestries of John Paul II and John XXIII hanging from the facade of St. Peter's Basilica.

It was a ceremony with four popes. This was because half an hour before Mass Benedict XVI also came for the event. Many cardinals approached him, and even the then-president of Italy. 

Finally just before Mass, Pope Francis arrived and they both gave each other a hug. 

At 10 a.m. the rite of canonization began and the pope spoke the words everyone was eagerly waiting for. 

Later, as is traditional, relatives of John XXIII and the woman healed through John Paul II's intercession presented the relics of the new saints. 

In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on how these two saints showed the world God's goodness.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the twentieth century. They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful.”

Since Pope Francis knew the great efforts pilgrims made to attend Mass, before returning to the Vatican, he got into the popemobile to greet all those around the square and surrounding streets. 

The enthusiasm was so great that they wouldn't let the pope leave empty-handed.

A few hours after the ceremony, the doors of the basilica were opened and many were able to pray before the remains of John Paul II and John XXIII. It seemed that for a few hours St. Peter gave these saints the honor of being the protagonists in this sacred place.