On Sunday April 27, Pope Francis canonized two of the most influential popes of the 20th century, John XXIII and John Paul II. This is the first time in the history of the Church that two popes were canonized at the same ceremony. Nearly one million people crowded the streets in and around St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City to be there for the historic event.
While they were both very influential popes in Church history, they were also very different.
John XXIII was known as a jovial priest whose papacy would last only five years. During that short time he would call the Second Vatican Council, which would bring about the use of the vernacular in Mass, the expanded role of the laity and overall renewal of doctrine for modern times.
John Paul II was a relatively young pope who was elected pontiff at age 58 and stayed in office for 26 years. Thanks to his long papacy he was able to visit 129 countries, canonize 483 saints and see the Church enter into its third millennium of existence.
Click here to read more about the canonization of these two popes.