John Paul II and John XXIII, the former leaders of the Catholic Church, will officially become saints on Sunday.
A ceremony will be held in St. Peter’s Square in Rome at 3:30 a.m. ET (9:30 a.m. local time).
John Paul II was the most travelled pope in history and made two trips to Canada. The most recent one was for World Youth Day in 2002.
His sainthood is the quickest canonization in modern history.
Neil MacCarthy, a spokesperson with the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, told 680News on Friday morning that the process involved in becoming a saint is “a very lengthy process.”
“It’s very unique that we see someone who was actually alive in our lifetime that is going to become a saint,” MacCarthy said from Rome, where he is attending the celebrations.
“In most cases on average, it can be up to 100 years.”
He said there are usually two miracles that are “investigate and required” before a person receives sainthood.
John Paul II was born on May 18, 1920, and was pope from Oct. 16, 1978, until his death on April 2, 2005.
He was the second longest-serving pope in the Catholic Church’s history, after Pius IX who ruled the Holy See for 31 years, from 1846 to 1878. He was also the first non-Italian pontiff since the 16th Century.
John XXIII led the church from Oct. 28, 1958, until his death in 1963.
Calls for John Paul II’s sainthood process started during his funeral mass in 2005. Pope Benedict XVI bypassed the traditional five-year waiting period before a saint investigation can begin, thus enabling the process to start mere weeks after his death.
The former pontiff was beatified in 2011 after two miracles, which are needed for canonization, took place. In once instance, the Vatican certified a French nun suffering from Parkinson’s disease was healed after she prayed to him. In another case, a Costa Rican woman’s inoperable brain aneurism disappeared after she prayed to John Paul.
John XXIII was beatified in 2000 after the Vatican certified that the healing of an Italian nun who suffered from a gastric hemorrhage was miraculous.
Pope Francis decided to forgo the Vatican rule that requires a second miracle in order for John XXIII to be canonized alongside John Paul.
GTA church services to honour canonizations
The following services will take place across the GTA:
- Starting at 3 a.m. on Sunday, parishioners at St. Eugene de Mazenod in Brampton will be able to watch the canonization. The church’s pastor, Father Adam Filas, will be broadcasting live from St. Peter’s Square.
- A special mass will be held at noon on Sunday at St. Wilfrid’s in Toronto with prayers in two languages.
- Daily novenas are being held at St. Maximilian Kolbe in Mississauga until Saturday. On Friday, the church will begin 24 hours adoration for Pope John Paul II, which ends with a mass on Saturday.
- The St. Bernadette’s Family Resource Centre in Toronto will be holding a celebration at Don Bosco High School in Toronto at 7 p.m. on Sunday.
With files from The Associated Press