Sunday 28 May 2017

Vatican's canonisation of two popes a signal that renewal they set in motion will continue

Pope Francis waves to faithful as he is driven through the crowd after presiding over a solemn ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican
Pope Francis waves to faithful as he is driven through the crowd after presiding over a solemn ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican
Faithful fill St. Peter's Square at the Vatican
A general view shows St. Peter's Square during the canonisation ceremony of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II at the Vatican
Pope Francis greets the faithful as he rides in his Popemobile after the canonisation ceremony of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican
A Swiss Guard stands during the canonisation ceremony
Faithful sleep on the ground before the start of the canonisation ceremony of Popes John XXIII and Jean-Paul II led by Pope Francis at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, April 27, 2014. Pope Francis proclaimed his predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints in front of more than half a million pilgrims on Sunday, hailing both as courageous men who withstood the tragedies of the 20th century. REUTERS/Max Rossi (VATICAN - Tags: RELIGION)
Bishops attend the canonisation ceremony of Popes John XXIII and Jean-Paul II led by Pope Francis at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican
Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, center, arrives in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday
A bishop reads a newspaper before the canonisation ceremony
A tapestry portrait of Pope John Paul II hanging from the facade of St Peter's Basilica
Pope Francis (R) embraces Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI during Mass before the canonisation ceremony
Bishops reveal a plaque honouring Pope John Paul II on the base of his statue at the forecourt of the Basilica of Guadalupe
David Quinn

David Quinn

SEVERAL memories stand out for me from the days in Rome in April 2005 following the death of John Paul II. I was covering the event for this newspaper.

The first was when the enormous queue first began to form on Via della Conciliazione, the avenue running down from St Peter's Square, to view his body as it lay in St Peter's Basilica. People waited for up to 24 hours for their turn to pay their respects.

But on that first day a group of Sikhs in their turbans were near the very top of the queue. They were neither Catholic nor Christian and I was curious to find out why they were there. They told me they were there "because John Paul was a man of God".

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