The Church eagerly awaits the canonization of Bl. John Paul II which Pope Francis announced would also take place April 27 Divine Mercy Sunday, along with the canonization of Bl. John XXII. Asked by reporters if retired Pope Benedict would participate in the canonization ceremony, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters it was possible, but given the retired pope’s preference for staying out of the public eye, he could not say for sure.
Nine years ago, on April 2, 2005, soon to be Saint John Paul II passed away. Millions of people mourned his death the world over, as the bells of St. Peter’s Square somberly tolled continuously to mourn his passing. If one listened one could here the voice of the4 late pontiff over the tolling bells with his admonition to all of us: Be not Afraid!
Since the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has emphasized God’s mercy and readiness to forgive those who recognize their need for pardon. He told reporters on the flight from Brazil that Pope John Paul’s promotion of Divine Mercy Sunday showed his intuition that a new “age of mercy” was needed in the church and the world.