On Sunday I will concelebrate with Pope Francis, Emeritus Pope Benedict and hundreds of bishops at the canonisation Mass. Millions of faithful are expected in Rome will be joining by TV or web.
John XXIII was pope when I was born and baptised. I grew up in the Church post Vatican II – not the “post Vatican II Church”, for there’s only one Church pre and post every Council. Pope John only glimpsed the many developments then coming for Church and society but with great confidence entrusted all to the Holy Spirit. ‘Good Pope John’ was an inspiration for my parents’ generation and is still much loved amongst ordinary faithful. Good Pope John, pray for us!
John Paul II was pope when I entered religious life and priesthood, and I had the privilege of establishing the Melbourne campus of his Institute for Marriage and Family. I met him many times, at meetings of the JP2 Institute or Pontifical Academy for Life. I remember his clear sense of purpose, intellectual brilliance and teasing sense of humour in those meetings. He appointed me bishop in 2003 and I met him a few more times before he died. ‘John Paul the Great’ was an inspiration for my generation and with John XXIII set the course of the Church for this new century. John Paul the Great, pray for us!
PS If you want to watch the canonisations online, you can go to www.xt3.com on 6pm Sunday night, Sydney time.