News

The saints of John Paul II

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
2 May 2011

During his 26 year pontificate, John Paul II named more saints and blessed than all his predecessors combined. He celebrated 147 beatification ceremonies, during which he proclaimed 1,338 blesseds and performed 51 canonizations for a total of 482 saints.

For ten years, he was helped in this task by Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, as he was the main person responsible for judging the sanctity of the candidate.

Card. José Saraiva Martins
Prefect emeritus, Congregation for the Causes of Saints
"He said that our Vatican office was the most beautiful of all because it is responsible for the most exciting and important part of the Church, which is holiness."

Arz. Piero Marini
Master of Liturgical Ceremonies of John Paul II
"For him, holiness was an opportunity for union with other churches. He always said that there were many witnesses of faith: Protestants, such as Bonhoeffer, and Russian Orthodox who gave their lives for the Church. So while we are divided, we are also visibly united in holiness. This was a great idea that lit up his entire pontificate. "

John Paul II said that all Christians must be holy, and so the Church wants to propose models for all types of people. Among the saints he canonized were mothers, such as as Gianna Beretta Molla. Slaves like Josephina Bakita, and Indians such as Juan Diego.

He proposed saints known and unknown to most people.  He beatified the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the Spanish priest Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei, and the Italian Capuchin Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, known as the saint of the stigmata.

He was the first to canonize a group of saints, which was the 119 Chinese martyrs who died between 1648 and 1930 defending their faith.

He taught that holiness is available to everyone, regardless of age, race or national origin.

He beatified two of the three seers of Fatima, Jacinta and Francisco, in the same place that the apparitions occurred.