When Pope Francis canonizes Blessed John Paul II on Divine Mercy Sunday, he will also proclaim him patron saint of World Youth Day, according to L’Osservatore Romano, which is a highly reliable source.
Of course it was Pope John Paul II who announced World Youth Day in 1985, and the first World Youth Day was held the following year. The International World Youth Days, usually 2-3 years apart, are interspersed with gatherings on Palm Sunday at the Vatican.
In addition, the World Youth Day Cross is taken to Saint Peter’s square every Friday afternoon as young people from around the world gather to pray. It is kept in the nearby San Lorenzo Center, which is a gathering place for young people who are visiting, living or studying in Rome. It offers Masses and adoration as well as other activities.
The next worldwide celebration take place in Krakow in 2016.
The Vatican has announced that there will be no tickets required—or offered—for the Canonization of these two Popes.
It will be first-com, first-served. So what does that mean to you if you plan to attend? These two Popes each had a tremendous following. Half of Poland is likely to be there to honor Pope John Paul II, and then you have the Italians, many of whom have fond memories of Pope John XXIII.
So you can count on huge crowds. Think you can show up on the morning of the 27th of April? Forget about that! Just the Beatification of John Paul II alone saw crowds line up at four in the afternoon the day before. So our advice is get ready for huge crowds. If you can’t stand the thought of waiting 24 hours be aware that there will be large-screen TVs outside of Saint Peter’s Square and probably in some piazzas nearby as well.
And finally….if you haven’t made hotel reservations by now, do it today. If you decide to wait you will probably be out of luck. Group tours may also be filling up, although at least most of them should have hotel space block.
As expected, the date for the Canonizations has been set for April 27, 2014. This is Divine Mercy Sunday, a day which Pope John Paul II designated as a Feast Day in 2000. It is a floating feast day, occurring the first Sunday after Easter each year.
The approval process for Pope John XXIII was “fast tracked” by Pope Francis, since they did not have proof of a second miracle required to become a Saint. But the Pope has the authority to do so.
The dates will allow enough time to prepare for what will be a momentous event in the Church. Pope Francis alluded to the fact that many pilgrims would be coming from Pope John Paul II’s native Poland and he did not want them traveling hazardous roads in winter time to get to Rome for the Canonization. This was a pretty good indication that it would take place in the Spring, and what better day than Divine Mercy Sunday. And Pope John XXIII, best known for the fact that he is the one who called for the Second Vatican Council, was something of a surprise because it was thought he would be more of a caretaker Pope rather than one who made major changes.
If you plan to attend on your own, be sure to make arrangements with a hotel or travel agency that you can trust. Most are trustworthy, of course, but with the large number of people expected it is wise to be cautious. To arrange tickets for the event contact the Pontifical Household. Tickets are free, but will be in limited supply.