NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — History was being made at the Vatican on Monday.
The news out of Rome said that two popes — Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII — will be elevated to sainthood on the same day, CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
It’s an unprecedented move by the Vatican.
“It’s just incredible and I just cannot believe that it’s actually happening,” Catholic school student Alaina Alasasi said.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan had a vote in the historic decision for the joint canonization and will be at the Vatican during the ceremony in April.
“I think it was a no brainer,” Dolan said.
As for why the current pope, Francis, elected to have the pair share the same day, Dolan said, “Here’s what it was: they both symbolize something. John XXIII was a simple, loving man of the heart and John Paul II was this vigorous man of intense intellect. I think Pope Francis wanted to emphasize both, and he did it dramatically.”
In a rare move, John XXIII, who died in 1963 and is known for Vatican II, the modernizing the Catholic Church, is being named a saint without having performed a second miracle — a requirement for sainthood.
Pope John Paul II has been fast-tracked through the process since his death in 2005.
Some speculate it’s all an attempt to unite the church, which has been plagued by abuse scandals in recent years.
So far, the news has been well received.
“I couldn’t be happier for them or for the church,” said Tom Brennan of Stamford, Conn.
“God definitely wanted it to be on the same day with those two gentlemen, so it’s not a coincidence,” Catholic school teacher Alessandra Cartolano added.
“It’s a very special day not only for Catholics, but for people of good will to have two great world leaders raised to the altar of the church,” said Father Eric Raaser of Immaculate Conception Church in Tuckahoe, N.Y.
The canonization will likely mark another first. It could be the first canonization that will be attended by two living popes — Pope Francis, who will preside, and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
The canonization ceremony will take place at the Vatican on April 27, a week after Easter, the holiest day on the Catholic calendar.
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