Pope Francis will host a meeting of cardinals on September 30 to formally approve the canonisation of Blesseds John Paul II and John XXIII; the date for the canonisation will be announced at that time, said Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes.
The cardinal told Vatican Radio that only Pope Francis knows for sure the date he will proclaim the two former popes saints, although he suggested that the canonisations are likely to take place in 2014.
Speaking to reporters traveling with him from Brazil to Rome after World Youth Day last month, Pope Francis said one possible date for the canonisation is April 27, the Sunday after Easter and the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday, a celebration instituted worldwide by John Paul II.
Asked to describe the two late popes, Pope Francis said Blessed John was “a bit of the ‘country priest,’ a priest who loves each of the faithful and knows how to care for them; he did this as a bishop and as a nuncio.”
He was holy, patient, had a good sense of humor and, especially by calling the Second Vatican Council, was a man of courage, Pope Francis added. “He was a man who let himself be guided by the Lord.”
As for Blessed John Paul, Pope Francis said: “I think of him as ‘the great missionary of the church’,” because he was “a man who proclaimed the Gospel everywhere.”
Pope Francis signed a decree recognising the miracle needed for Blessed John Paul’s canonisation on July 5; the same day, the Vatican announced that the Pope had agreed with the cardinal members of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes that the canonisation of Blessed John should go forward even without a second miracle attributed to his intercession.
Before declaring new saints, the Pope consults with cardinals around the world and calls a consistory – a gathering attended by any cardinal who wants and is able to attend – where those present voice their support for the Pope’s decision. A date for a canonisation ceremony is announced formally only during or immediately after the consistory.