Popes' Canonization Will Be Francis' Style: Low-Key
Newly no-frills Vatican plans subdued saint-making ceremony
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 1, 2014 3:29 PM CDT
The Vicar of Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, speaks during a press conference at the Vatican, Monday, March 31, 2014.   (Domenico Stinellis)

(Newser) – When in Rome, apparently do as the current pontiff does: The low-frills style of Pope Francis is having an effect on the upcoming canonizations of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. Organizers of the event say the April 27 saint-making ceremony is going to be a much more sober affair than the three-day extravaganza that accompanied John Paul's 2011 beatification. That 2011 event included a prayer vigil on Rome's Circus Maximus field for tens of thousands of people and ended up costing several times the original estimate of $1.65 million.

This time around, churches in Rome's center will remain open overnight before the canonization to provide a spiritual retreat for pilgrims, but as vicar of Rome Agostino Vallini says, "not much else." Adds a spokesman: "What's important that happens is that there's a sobriety, to get to the essential." And though Polish pilgrims are expected to come en masse for native son John Paul, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi notes that about 250,000 can fit in St. Peter's Square and the boulevard leading to it—in comparison to the 1.5 million who crammed in for the beatification Mass. One person Lombardi wouldn't confirm was coming: Pope Benedict XVI, though he says, "It's a given that he's been invited. It's an open possibility."

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Showing 3 of 6 comments
Apr 1, 2014 7:31 PM CDT
Low key, low brow.
Apr 1, 2014 4:19 PM CDT
To be "canonized," as I was taught at least, simply means to be a bona-fide, certified saint. To be a saint merely means to "dwell in heaven." How Francis knows that JP2 and John "Jacky 23" (as he is known in heaven) are sitting right next to God is miraculous in itself. Good for you, Francis, you are next up!
Apr 1, 2014 3:33 PM CDT
I don't know why the pictures in the gallery provoke an urge to caption them, but....I'll suppress it for the moment. Unless people were to vote for the image they want captioned, then I might be willing to give it a jostle.