Popes canonised in Vatican ceremony

Published Sunday, 27 April 2014
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Tens of thousands of pilgrims filled St Peter's Square at the Vatican for a historic day of four popes, with Francis and Benedict XVI honouring John XXIII and John Paul II by declaring them saints in the first ever canonisation of two pontiffs.

Popes canonised in Vatican ceremony
Crowds flocked to the Vatican for the ceremony. (© Getty)

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul's beloved homeland were among the first to press into the square well before dawn, held back by human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order.

Most of those who arrived first had camped out overnight along the side streets leading to the square.

Others had not slept at all and took part in the all-night prayer vigils hosted at a dozen churches in central Rome.

Scores of foreign delegations, including royal dignitaries and heads of state and government, attended the ceremony.

It has been estimated that a million people surrounded the Holy See to get a glimpse of the historic occasion which was broadcast on giant screens across the city.

A Mass co-celebrated by Pope Francis and his predecessor Benedict - in a rare public appearance - was held to anoint the two popes as saints.

"We declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II to be saints and we enrol them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole church," Francis said in his formal proclamation in Latin.

Across Northern Ireland special services were held at churches to mark the occasion.

In the Republic of Ireland cinemas broadcasted the event and over 2,000 people gathered at Galway Racecourse to celebrate the momentous ceremony.

It is the first time two popes have been elevated to sainthood at the same time and the first time a pope has been canonised since the 1950s.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Ballymena in Ballymena in Ballymena wrote (274 days ago):
This is a great day for all Catholics
maggie in north west wrote (277 days ago):
All Christian are saints. but we should not pray to them. we carry a cross in this life and hope for heavenly glory.in eternal rest..In the Lord's prayer there is no mention of the saints.and this was the prayer Jesus taught his disciples
Vee in Belfast wrote (277 days ago):
Shame that UTV did not see fit to televise the ceremony. Not all of us can get RTE!!!
Paul Campbell in Newtownabbey wrote (277 days ago):
So someone who sat on his hands while his bishops protected Paedophile priests is made a saint, who's next to be made a Saint, Charles Manson
culchy in the stix wrote (277 days ago):
All those reports of paedophiles operating within the church so they move them about and declare JP2 as a man without sin for covering it up and keeping his mouth shut.
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