Vatican City, 28 April 2014 (VIS) – At 10 a.m. today in St. Peter's Square Cardinal Angelo Comastri, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City and archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, presided at a Mass of thanksgiving for the canonisation of John Paul II.
The Eucharist was preceded by a greeting from Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland, who was the new saint's secretary. “Yesterday”, he said, addressing the thousands of faithful who filled the Square, “two Blessed Popes were inscribed among the Saints: the first, John XXIII, a son of the land of Italy, who merited the title of the 'Good Pope'. It was he who announced Vatican Council II, more than half a century ago. The second of the new Saints, John Paul II, son of Poland, the Pope of Divine Mercy, consequently gave life to the decision of the Council and led the Church into the third millennium of Christian faith”.
“We thank God for this dual gift. We offer thanks for the extraordinarily transparent witness of love and service of both these pastors. … For this dual gift we offer our most heartfelt thanks to the Holy Father Francesco. Let us thank him because already in the first year of his pontificate he took the decision to canonise his Predecessors, setting the date for Divine Mercy Sunday”, added the cardinal archbishop, who concluded his address by offering thanks on behalf of his compatriots “to Italy and all of her inhabitants for having welcomed Karol Wojtyla many years ago, as bishop and pope, as he arrived in Rome 'from a far away country'”. Italy became a second homeland to him. Today John Paul II will surely bless her from on high, just as he surely blesses Poland and the entire world. There was a place in his heart for all nations, cultures and languages”.
Cardinal Comastri recalled John Paul II's words: “The saints do not ask us to applaud them; they ask that we imitate them”, and urged the pilgrims to imitate the new saint who had “the courage to openly defend faith in Jesus in an age of 'silent apostasy on the part of people who have all that they need and who live as if God does not exist' … to defend the family, to defend human life, to defend peace while the grim winds of war blew … to encounter the young to free them from the culture of emptiness and the ephemeral and to invite them to welcome Christ, the sole light of life and the only one able to bring the fullness of joy to the human heart”.