Two new saintsVatican City - A historic event before hundreds of thousands of pilgrims in Saint Peters square, Sunday.
By: CNN Staff, WDAY
Vatican City - A historic event before hundreds of thousands of pilgrims in Saint Peters square, Sunday.
Pope Francis canonized two former pontiffs: John XXIII and John Paul II.
They came early and in the hundreds of thousands, some from far, far away to witness the canonization of two giants of the catholic church-Pope John XXIII, who oversaw the reforms begun at the second Vatican council, who made huge strides to close the gap between Jews and Catholics and Pope John Paul II, the globetrotting polish pontiff credited with helping bring down communism in Europe.
Unlike John, who died fifty-one years ago, many here still have vivid memories of John Paul.
Ben Wedeman/ Vatican City: "He's just everything we ever wanted, you know he's always smiling, even when he was in pain. I'm sorry, I'm just overwhelmed."
"He was a strong voice against communism, so I think without his help and support we wouldn't be able to fight back."
Sunday was a day for contemplation, the mood more somber than celebratory with some lost in deep prayer.
This is indeed a unique moment in the history of the Catholic church. It's the first ever double canonization. And it's the first time a canonization has been overseen by two living popes: Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Francis himself went about his duties in a low-key manner. Aware perhaps that on this day his predecessors should be centre-stage.
Though some in the square suggest Francis may someday be on the fast track to sainthood.
"If he continues to be popular with the people, if he continues to present the gospel to people in such a warm way in a way that resonates so widely, then I'm sure that maybe in the fullness of time, he may be declared a saint."
But tomorrow's saints will have to wait. The focus, and the fervor, is on the saints of today.