VATICAN CITY (CBSNewYork) — Faithful from around the globe are arriving in Rome for the historic canonization of two popular popes.
As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, the excitement is building for Sunday’s ceremony. Stores near St. Peter’s Square crammed with souvenirs were just one of many signs of the enthusiasm.
Kathryn Lopez led a group traveling to Rome from the New York metro area to watch as popes John XXIII and John Paul II are honored as saints. She said the lives of the two men resonate with Catholics.
“We are sinners called to live holy lives, and that’s what the celebration is this week,” said Lopez. “Two men who lived holy lives of heroic virtue — not perfect men, but good, holy men — are we’re called to be the same.”
A huge number of pilgrims are expected from John Paul’s homeland of Poland. But the Italians are excited about the canonization of John XXIII. Pope from 1958-63, he was a beloved figure there.
John XXIII formed the Vatican II council that helped reform the church, bringing it into modern times.
Sunday will mark the first dual canonization of two popes.
“Millions of people want to come to Rome, from Poland and other countries,” said theologian Father Robert Dodaro. “They want to honor, to be a part, to be able to tell their friends and children, ‘I was there when Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII were canonized.”
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