Obama joins in tributes to new papal saints


‘Their work and testimony did not just change the Catholic Church, but the whole world’.


United States: 

Emotions are still running high all over the world following the canonizations of Roncalli and Wojtyla: 24 hours after the canonization ceremony ended in the Vatican, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, issued a statement for the occasion, which reads: “Today, Michelle and I join Catholics from all over the world in celebrating the canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. Their work and their testimony did not just change the Catholic Church, but the whole world.”

“Pope John XXIII articulated powerful roles for the Church in the cause of global peace and justice, and by convening the Second Vatican Council he revolutionized not only aspects of worship but the Catholic Church’s relationship with other faith communities,” President Obama said in his statement.

“Pope John Paul II helped inspire the Solidarity movement in Poland, a movement that spread and eventually helped to end communism in Eastern Europe, and he spoke out forcefully against apartheid in South Africa and genocide in Rwanda. He had a special rapport with young people, drawing many of them to the Church’s work and teachings,” the president added.

The canonization of the two Popes also gave President Obama a chance to pick up on the recent meeting he had with Pope Francis in the Vatican: “We celebrate these Saints and the leadership of His Holiness Pope Francis, and we look forward to continuing to work with Pope Francis and Catholics around the world to advance peace and justice for all people.”

Source: Vatican Insider


Sainthood for John Paul II and John XXIII, as crowds pack St. Peter’s Square

By Laura Smith-Spark, Delia Gallagher and Ben Wedeman, CNN
April 27, 2014 — Updated 1333 GMT (2133 HKT)
Watch this video

John XXIII and John Paul II canonized

Click on the following link to view Canonisation Ceremony..
  • NEW: Estimated 800,000 watch ceremony in St. Peter’s area, 500,000 more around Rome
  • Pope Francis hails John XXIII and John Paul II as “men of courage” in his homily
  • “They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis says
  • The presence of two living popes for a canonization ceremony is historic

Rome (CNN) — John XXIII and John Paul II were canonized Sunday by Pope Francis in an unprecedented ceremony witnessed by huge crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

Millions more around the world watched as two former pontiffs were for the first time installed as saints in a dual canonization.

The faithful and the curious packed the streets of Rome around the Vatican before dawn, hoping to gain entry to St. Peter’s Square and catch a direct glimpse of church history in the making.

Vatican Radio put the crowds at some 800,000 in the St. Peter’s area, including the square and the roads and gardens around it. Another 500,000 followed the proceedings on giant screens set up around Rome, according to estimates based on police aerial shots.

Papal sainthoods break with tradition

A historic first: double canonization

In another first on a historic day, two living popes were present for the ceremony.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who resigned from the papacy a year ago citing health reasons, was not at the altar but was greeted warmly by Francis both before and after the event.

Many of those gathered in the square for the solemn open-air ceremony carried flags and banners. The red and white Polish flag was prominent among them, a reflection of the affection felt for John Paul II in his homeland, Poland. Another read simply, “Thank you.”

With the canonization, a holy relic for each of the popes was formally presented to the altar before the crowds. Giant banners showing the faces of the two late popes hung on the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica.

In his homily, Francis described the pair as “men of courage” who bore witness to God’s mercy.

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” he said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful, faith was more powerful.”

He paid tribute to the efforts of John XXIII and John Paul II to renew and strengthen the church.

The landmark Second Vatican Council called by John XXIII was of great service to the church, he said. That council helped to bring the church to the people, for example by allowing languages other than Latin to be used for Mass.

John Paul II, who served for nearly 27 years, is seen as the “pope of the family” and wanted to be remembered that way, Francis added.

Popemobile progress

After greeting visiting dignitaries, Pope Francis climbed into the Popemobile, a chance for him to get closer to some of the many faithful who have flocked to Rome.

The joyful crowds waved and screamed as he passed through their midst in the open-sided vehicle, with Francis waving and smiling back.

One American pilgrim, Hector Alicea of Maryland, told CNN it was “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for him and his two children to be there for the event.

“It was very exciting,” he said. “We didn’t get a lot of sleep and it’s very, very crowded, but all in all it was an incredibly cheerful environment.”

The event has a special significance for him because his faith was revitalized after he heard John Paul II preach a sermon in Baltimore in 1994, he said. “What we are seeing today is the kind of youth who grew up in the John Paul generation.”

He was impressed by the diversity of the crowds, he said, as well as the numbers of young and old among them.

Applause greets Benedict

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said beforehand that as many as 150 cardinals and 1,000 bishops would attend the canonization ceremony, as well as some 6,000 priests.

Benedict, looking frail in his white robes, was greeted with applause as he took his place among the bishops and cardinals.

Delegations from more than 100 countries around the world were expected to be present, the Vatican said, including at least 24 heads of state. A large Jewish delegation was also to attend, reflecting the efforts of both popes to reach out to the Jewish faith.

Sunday evening also marks the beginning of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The two popes canonized are:

John XXIII (1881-1963) — known as Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli before he became pope — was one of 13 children born into a family of Italian peasants, farmers from a tiny village in the country’s north. He was sent away to study for the priesthood at age 11.

John Paul II (1920-2005), born Karol Jozef Wojtyla, was brought up in a grimy industrial town in Poland and raised by his soldier father after his mother died when he was just 8 years old. He spent his formative years living under first Nazis, then Communists.

His beatification is the quickest in modern times, made possible because Benedict — who succeeded John Paul in 2005 — waived the normal five-year waiting period after death to get someone’s beatification rolling.

Tomb visits

Vatican observers see the decision to canonize both popes together as a masterstroke designed to invite unity within the Roman Catholic Church, since it brings together a conservative and a reformer.

The day chosen for the ceremony, the first Sunday after Easter, is significant because in the church calendar it is Divine Mercy Sunday. Mercy was a theme important to both popes — and to Francis.

After the Mass, the Basilica of St. Peter will be open into the evening to allow pilgrims the opportunity to visit the tombs of the two new saints, Vatican Radio said.

John Paul II’s relic, a vial containing his blood, is the same one used for his beatification ceremony in 2011. John XXIII’s relic is a piece of skin removed from his body when it was exhumed — in order to move his body from the crypt under St Peter’s Basilica to the main Basilica — for his 2000 beatification ceremony.

After the Eucharistic service, their names were included for the first time in the chanting of the litany of the saints.

The huge crowds present in Rome reflect the fact that both men were popular in life and known for their efforts to reach out to ordinary people, a path which Francis also seems determined to follow.

The event is the biggest in Vatican City since the election of Pope Francis last year.

The Vatican’s official website said civil security forces were prepared and the subway system would run nonstop through the weekend to accommodate the influx of pilgrims for the ceremony.

CNN’s Ben Wedeman and Delia Gallagher reported from Rome and Laura Smith-Spark wrote and reported in London. CNN’s John L. Allen Jr., Ralph Ellis and journalist Livia Borghese contributed to this report.

Joint canonization of Popes John Paul II, John XXIII unique in Church history, here’s why

VATICAN CITY — The joint canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII on Sunday is a convergence of coincidences, personalities and legacies.

Not only is the elevation of two popes to sainthood at the same time unprecedented, but the men sitting in the audience will also represent a first for the Catholic Church; the ceremony will be attended by two popes.

Pope Francis will lead the ceremony as the current head of the church, watched over by his predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.


In another unique canonization twist, it was Pope John Paul II who put Pope John XXIII on the final step to sainthood when he beatified him in September 2000.


Both men are exceptions to the often long and complex road to canonization.

In the case of John XXIII, his life itself was deemed holy enough to serve as a substitute for one of the two miracles usually required for sainthood. Unlike most other saints, John XXIII will reach the vaunted status with only one accredited miracle to his name.

But Francis isn’t the first pope to dispense with the two-miracles rule. In 2000, John Paul II waved it for two Chinese martyrs and 119 companions, all of whom were proclaimed saints.

Then there’s the speed with which these two popes are being canonized. More often than not, proposed saints languish for centuries before being elevated to the highest pantheon.


John Paul II made the grade in record time; a mere nine years after his death, not least because Benedict XVI waived the usual five-year waiting period — an answer to the cries of “Santo Subito” (“Make him a saint now”) from hundreds of thousands of faithful who filled St. Peter’s Square for John Paul II’s funeral mass.


For those who like trivia, St. Francis of Assisi —from whom the present pontiff took his name — was propelled to sainthood just two years after his death in 1226 by “vox populi,” or acclamation by the people.

Both new saints (or about-to-be saints — it won’t be official until Sunday morning in Rome) were global icons of their day, and both played a role in reducing the tensions of the Cold War.

John Paul II is widely held to have been a major contributor to the fall of communism, not least because of his support for the Solidarity movement in his native Poland, which kicked off the revolts in Eastern Europe which eventually led to the fall of the Berlin Wall.


Two priest walk carrying pictures of Pope John Paul II (L) and Pope John XXIII in front of St. Peter's square
Two priest walk carrying pictures of Pope John Paul II (L) and Pope John XXIII in front of St. Peter’s square in Rome, April 25, 2014.


John XXIII’s contribution is less widely known, but perhaps no less significant.


At the height of the Cuban missile crisis he issued a statement calling for leadership in the cause of peace — reportedly after a call from President John F. Kennedy. That gave then-Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev the opportunity to cast himself in the role of peacemaker, and two days later he agreed to withdraw the missiles from Cuba.

All four popes — the two living and the two to be sainted on Sunday — also share a connection to the Second Vatican Council, which resulted in some of the most sweeping changes and modernization of the Catholic Church in centuries.

It was instituted in 1962 by John XXIII.

Among the participants were Bishop Karol Wojtyla, who became Pope John Paul II, and a theologian named Father Joseph Ratzinger, later Benedict XVI.

Francis himself wasn’t physically present at what is now known as “Vatican II,” but Vatican spokesman Father Thomas Rosica says the connection was made the moment the new pope appeared on the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica.

“The first image that flashed through my mind was John XXIII,” he said. “Partly because they look alike, but that voice, the paternal embrace, the humility and the kindness, and I see a great similarity, a great continuity between John’s vision and his style and Francis’ style of leading the church.”

But the fact that all this is coming together under Pope Francis is a quirk of timing, rather than any effort by the current pontiff to make a point, according to Father Robert Dodaro, a professor of early church history.

“I don’t think he is thinking about his image or his status in the church,” he told CBS News. “Had Pope Benedict been a pope for another year or so, this would’ve happened under his papacy, so I don’t think the timing is really about Pope Francis himself, it’s about the course of events that went on in the study of the lives of these two former popes.”

John Paul II was widely held to be the first pontiff to truly embrace and use the mass media.

It may not be a coincidence in the sense that so many other things about this canonization are, but there will be 1,200,000 images of the two popes transmitted on screens set up around Rome before the three-hour long ceremony on Sunday.

There’s a website: “www.2popesaints.org.”

And in keeping with the fact that Benedict adapted to modern social media by being the first pope to have a Twitter account — a practice Francis is continuing — all the information you could ever want about the canonization is available in a free APP, called, not coincidentally, The Pope App.

Kerala priest charged with raping 10-year-old girl


Suspect allegedly lured victim by purchasing dress for girl’s first communion, police say.


Police in Kerala are looking for a 44-year-old Catholic priest who is accused of raping a 10-year-old girl three times.

The girl’s parents on Thursday filed a complaint against Father Raju Kokken of St. Paul’s Parish in Kerala. According to the complaint, the victim was sexually assaulted on April 8, 11 and 24.

The Thrissur district police charged the priest with rape. They also charged him under the information and technology act for digitally recording the sexual act.

City police commissioner P. Prakash told ucanews.com that police have started a manhunt for the priest, who went missing after the victim lodged the complaint.

Police have recorded the victim’s statement in which she alleged that the priest molested her while she was changing into a dress the priest purchased for the girl’s first Communion. The priest also recorded the sexual act on a mobile phone, police said.

“The girl belongs to a poor family and the priest lured her to his room and offered her a new dress for her holy Communion,” Prakash said.

The priest’s mobile phone was found to have been switched off since yesterday.

Trichur Archdiocesan spokesman Fr Geo Kadavil said the Church would take action against the priest if the allegations were true, the Indian Express has reported.

“We are trying to understand the truth. Definitely, he would face action as per the Church law,” said Kadavil.

Source: ucanews.com





Fr. Richard Crasto          :           To be Director, Diocesan Estate Office and Director, Roman Catholic Cathedral  Trust While continuing as Parish Priest, Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Goregaon (W).

Fr. Seraj Y. Pinto            :           To continue as Parish Priest, St. Anthony Church, Vakola(and not as previously announced)

Fr. Elias D’souza              :           To be Director, Our Lady’s Home, Dadar (E) ( and not as previously announced)

Fr. Joseph Gonsalves    :           To be resident staff member, St. Pius X College, Goregaon

Fr. Godwin Fernandes  :           To be Archdiocesan Vocation Promoter and Treasurer of St. Pius College with residence at St. Pius College, Goregaon.

Fr. Raphael Mordom     :           To be Assistant Director, Our Lady’s Home, Dadar (E)

Fr. George Fernandes    :           To be Assistant, Holy Cross Church, Kurla

Fr. Maria Gabriel             :           To be Assistant, St. Jude Church, Jeri Meri

Fr. Ignatius Manaji        :           To be Assistant, St. Francis Xavier Church, Vile Parle.

Fr. Stephen Maria           :           To be Assistant, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Orlem.

Fr. Henry Sequeira         :           To be Assistant, Infant Jesus Church, Jogeshwari (E).

Fr. Sean Sequeira            :           To be Assistant, St. John the Baptist Church, Thane.

Fr. Wilfred J. vaz            :           To be Assistant, St Lawrence Church, Wagle Estate.

Fr. Francis Xavier           :           To be Assistant, St. Anthony Church, Malwani.

Fr. Anto Denish                :           (Newly Ordained) to be Assistant, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, Borivli (W).

Fr. Glasten Gonsalves   :           (Newly Ordained) To be Assistant, Our Lady of Health Church, Versova.

Fr. Hendrick Itur            :           (newly Ordained) to be Assistant, St. Thomas Church, Goregaon (E)


The above Appointments take effect from June 1, 2014.

(To be continued)


April 22,  2014                                   Sd/- Oswald Cardinal Gracias

THE EXAMINER                                       Archbishop of Bombay

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