Catholic Church to elevate 2 popes to sainthood


Pope John the XXIII served from 1958 to 1963 and the 27-year papacy of John Paul the II ended with his death in 2005.

Many remember when Pope John Paul held a mass at Candlestick Park in 1987. ABC7 News anchor Cheryl Jennings remembers anchoring that coverage with fellow reporter Rigo Chacon from The Stick. That gathering was even more popular the Beatles.

It took only nine years after his death for Pope John Paul to be canonized and that is a first. Another first is the fact that two popes in one day will become saints, witnessed by two living popes -- Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

Mission Dolores has many attractions. One of the most popular ones that people come to see is the kneeler used by Pope John Paul II when he came to pray there in 1987.

"I think he brought a charisma and he invited the youth. So I think that brought a lot more of our community together," said Livermore resident Sonia Sanchez.

"Pope John Paul, he was really a people's pope and he was out in the public and I think that is important," said Santa Rosa resident Nichole Duncan.

Pope John Paul II addressed a crowd of 70,000 at Candlestick Park -- three times the number of people who came to see the Beatles. He waved at followers in the mission from his pope mobile. At Mission Dolores he blessed 62 patients with AIDS. Perhaps the most touching moment was when he hugged 7-year-old Brendan O'Rourke who later died of AIDS. But outside, protesters were not as welcoming. He was booed for his outspoken opposition to homosexuality.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone met him several times and said, "Such extremely and diversely talented individuals come along only very rarely. Just to be in his presence was an inspiration."

It took only nine years to be canonized.

"His holiness and his humility was obvious to everyone. So therefore they just needed to have the miracles and have his cause postulated and that was no problem at all," said Jeanne Jewett, a ministry director.

His two miracles include a French nun's recovery from Parkinson's disease and a Costa Rican woman overcoming a brain aneurysm.

Pope John the XXIII died in 1963 and will be remembered as the pope who brought change and openness to the church.

In the last thousand years just seven popes have been made saints, including these two.

Local Events:
Saturday's Vigil Mass of Thanksgiving in Oakland
Mass of Thanksgiving for Canonizations of Two Popes
Saturday, April 26, 5:30 pm
The Cathedral of Christ the Light

May 7 Mass of Thanksgiving in Pleasanton
Tri-Valley Catholic Mass of Thanksgiving for Canonizations
Wednesday, May 7, 7:30 pm
St. Augustine Parish, 3999 Bernal Ave., Pleasanton

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