News Detail
John XXIII and John Paul II
Pope Francis Canonizes Popes John XXIII and John Paul II at Historic Ceremony

April 30, 2014 —  For the first time in the Catholic Church’s history, two popes were made saints in the same ceremony when Pope Francis canonized John XXIII and John Paul II on April 27. The Mass was held in St. Peter’s Square, just outside the basilica where the mortal remains of the two rest, and 150 cardinals, 700 bishops and thousands of priests concelebrated with Pope Francis.

About one million pilgrims were in Rome for the occasion, as well as 24 heads of state, 35 prime ministers and 23 government ministers from various countries. Millions more watched the ceremony on TV or the Internet.

Blessed John Paul II, known as a globetrotter who made 104 trips outside Italy, served as pope from 1978 to 2005 and was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on May 1, 2011. Blessed John XXIII, known particularly for convening the Second Vatican Council, was pope from 1958 to 1963; Pope John Paul beatified him in 2000.

Pope Francis said Blessed John was holy, patient, had a good sense of humor and, especially by calling the Second Vatican Council, was a man of courage. “He was a man who let himself be guided by the Lord.”

As for Blessed John Paul, Pope Francis said, “I think of him as the great missionary of the church,” because he was “a man who proclaimed the Gospel everywhere.”

According to Jesuit Father William Watters, pastor of St. Ignatius Church in Baltimore, “These saintly yet very human men are greatly admired by people across the entire world. In their lifetime they made a lasting impact on the church and the world. Men of deep prayer and great service to others, their lives and accomplishments continue to exemplify a goodness and holiness that inspire us to imitate them in our own lives and actions.”

Blessed John XXIII: Short Pontificate, Long Impact

John XXIIIAlthough he served as pope for less than five years, Blessed John XXIII (1958-1963) left one of the most lasting legacies in the Catholic Church's history by convening the Second Vatican Council.

Citing the Holy Spirit as his source of inspiration, he called the Second Vatican Council to help the church confront the rapid changes and mounting challenges unfolding in the world — and, by inviting non-Catholics to the council, to work toward Christian unity.

As pope from 1958 to 1963, Blessed John launched a renewal of the church, which set in motion major reforms with regard to the church and its structure, the liturgy, ecumenism, social communication and Eastern churches.

He produced a number of historic encyclicals, including “Mater et Magistra” on Christian social doctrine and “Pacem in Terris,” issued in 1963 at the height of the Cold War, on the need for global peace and justice.

Blessed John XXIII visited many parishes in Rome, and his contact with the people and his personal warmth, sensitivity and fatherly kindness earned him the nickname, “the Good Pope.” 

Jesuit Father James Martin wrote that he was drawn to John XXIII “not as much for his wit, or his writings, or his love of the church, or even his accomplishments as for something more basic: his love for God and for other people.”

Blessed John XXIII died of cancer on June 3, 1963.

Blessed John Paul II: A Moral Force with Flair

John Paul IIBlessed John Paul II (1978-2005) was one of the most forceful moral leaders of the modern age. He brought a philosopher's intellect, a pilgrim's spiritual intensity and an actor's flair for the dramatic to his role as head of the church for more than 26 years.

The Polish pope was a tireless evangelizer and forceful communicator, speaking to millions in their own languages. But toward the end of his life, his powers of speech faltered with his worsening illness, which left him often unable to even murmur a blessing.

The first non-Italian pope in 455 years, Blessed John Paul became a spiritual protagonist in two global transitions: the fall of European communism, which began in his native Poland in 1989, and the passage to the third millennium of Christianity.

As pastor of the universal church, he jetted around the world, taking his message to 129 countries— including seven trips to the United States.

In his later years, the pope moved with difficulty, tired easily and was less expressive, all symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Yet he pushed himself to the limits of his physical capabilities, convinced that such suffering was itself a form of spiritual leadership.

His social justice encyclicals, including his landmark document, the apostolic letter “Novo Millennio Ineunte” (“At the Beginning of the New Millennium”), made a huge impact, addressing the moral dimensions of human labor, the widening gap between rich and poor and the shortcomings of the free-market system.

After more than 26 years as pope, Blessed John Paul died at the age of 84 at the Vatican on April 2, 2005. [Source and photos: Catholic News Service]


Recent News

October 22, 2014 — Thirty-one Jesuits were ordained to the diaconate in October, which is the final step in preparation for priestly ordination in the Society of Jesus.

October 22, 2014 — Jesuit Father Mike Weiler has served as provincial of the California Province Jesuits since 2011.

October 20, 2014 — The Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family culminated on Oct. 19 when Pope Francis beatified Pope Paul VI during the closing Mass.

October 17, 2014 — U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities will honor the late James Foley on Oct. 18, what would have been his 41st birthday.

October 14, 2014 — Before joining the Jesuits, Joseph Carver saw that Seattle shelters couldn't accommodate all the homeless, so he worked with churches to open up more space.

October 13, 2014 — Jesuits Adam DeLeon and Eric Immel recall formation experiences that changed the way they looked at themselves and looked at the world.

October 9, 2014 — Jesuit Father Timothy P. Kesicki, president of the Jesuit Conference, gave a speech on the Ignatian concept of "magis" at a Loyola Club luncheon in Washington, D.C., today.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America - 9/15/14

America - 9/1/14

America - 8/18/14



Campion Renewal Center
Campion Renewal Center, situated 20 miles west of Boston, is located in a peaceful setting that provides plenty of walking trails through the woods and fields.