In just 13 hours, the canonization Mass for John Paul II and John XXIII will begin in Rome. What an exciting moment! Bl. John Paul II died on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday (liturgically it was already Divine Mercy Sunday because Evening Prayer had been said) nine years ago. St. Peter's Square filled with pilgrims who held tearful vigil, waiting for the great doors of the papal apartment to be shut and the lights to be extinguished as a sign that their beloved papa had gone to his eternal home. And when he did, the chanting began: Santo Subito! Sainthood now!
Nine years is a relatively short time to pass between one's death and his canonization. St. Peter's Square is filling once again (just take a look at #2popesaints on Twitter for some updates) with pilgrims who are holding joyful vigil waiting for the banner of John Paul II's face to be unfurled from the balcony of the great basilica as a sign that the Church has great confidence that their beloved papa is in his eternal home.
I was at John Paul II's beatification and can only imagine the excitement of standing in the Square for his canonization. There is something so beautiful about the public recognition of someone's courageous holiness. It's a special thanksgiving to God for the life of a man who transformed the world in ways we may not fully realize.