Canonisation of St John XXIII and John Paul II
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
The Catholic journalist, normally in London, was in Rome for those wonderful days celebrating the canonisation of St John XXIII and John Paul II.

There were vast, vast crowds certainly well over a million, probably something more like two million, as St Peters, the streets around, and every major piazza across the city was jammed tight, and a great many more pilgrims gave up any hope of watching from one of the big screens and so retreated to hotels or Catholic institutions to view the canonisation Mass on TV.

There was joy pilgrim groups sang in the streets, marched with their flags and banners, made common cause with strangers, swapped jokes and badges, strummed guitars and held impromptu concerts, and generally had a wonderful time!

There was prayer young people in silence before the Blessed Sacrament in candlelit vigils, or packing out special Masses, or confessing to priests who sat patiently for hours listening and absolving

There was reverence one of the most moving moments came when crowds in piazzas and streets a great distance from St Peters, watching the Mass on giant screens, cascaded to their knees as the Consecration prayer began, and remained there, eyes uplifted as the Host and Chalice were raised

There was a sense of a blessing over the citypreparations had been made in case of fierce heat: stacks and stacks of bottles of water, First Aid teams, tents and medical equipment at strategic corners, but instead there was gentle April sunshine, ideal weather, and a sprinkling of rain after it was all over.

There was a great understanding of the unity we have in the Church flags from so many nations, greetings in so many different languages, a Mass that bound all together, a litany of the saints uniting us across the centuries

And now the Church has two new great saints. It is springtime in Rome, and springtime in a Church that is always new, always being renewed.

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