An up-to-the-minute guide to the historic ceremony in Rome


  • John XXIII and John Paul II have been canonised in first double papal canonisation in history
  • Pope Francis read a formula of canonisation, enrolling two popes among the saints
  • The Pope Emeritus concelebrated at the ceremony as well


11:13 Thank you for following this live blog. We wish you a happy and holy Sunday.


11:09 Pope Francis gives the final Blessing and ends with the dismissal: “Go forth, the Mass is ended, alleluia, alleluia.” All reply: “Thanks be to God, alleluia, alleluia.”

11:08 The Regina caeli is also said in place of the Angelus during Eastertide.

Queen of Heaven

V. Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
R. For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.
V. Has risen, as he said, alleluia.
R. Pray for us to God, alleluia.
V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray. O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Regina caeli

V. Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia.
R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.
V. Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.
R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

V. Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Oremus. Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es: praesta, quaesumus; ut per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

11:05 And here’s the latest on numbers:

11:04 Pope Francis gives a brief Allocution before the recitation of the Regina cæli led by Pope Francis.

11:03 Pope Francis says the Prayer after Communion:

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that our reception of this paschal Sacrament may have a continuing effect in our minds and hearts.Through Christ our Lord.

11:01 Thank God for our priests:

11:00 A period of silence follows Communion.

10:59 A good question for those watching at the cinema today:

10:58 John Paul II’s homily at canonisation of St Faustina Kowalska can be read in full here:

10:55 “You know it’s not true to say that the Spirit assists the Pope. The Holy Spirit doesn’t help the Pope. I’m simply his helper. He did everything. The Council is his idea.” (Pope John XXIII)

10:52 In May 1981 a Turkish terrorist named Ali Acga shot John Paul II in St Peter’s Square on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima. Having survived this attack, John Paul II said: “One hand fired the gun but Our Lady’s hand guided the bullet.” In the Christmas of 1983, Pope John Paul II visited his assassin in jail and forgave him.

10:51 Saint John Paul II was the first non-Italian Pope for 450 years. 8 months after his election John Paul II returned to visit his homeland. The Soviet government imposed media restrictions on the event but a 30-foot high crucifix was erected in Warsaw’s Victory Square and the new Pope celebrated Mass for 300,000 people. John Paul II is regarded as instrumental in Communism’s subsequent collapse.

10:49 Saint John XXIII chose to preach a homily at his coronation Mass although this had never been done before. During his homily he said: “There are those who expect the pontiff to be a statesman, a diplomat, a scholar, the organizer of the collective life of society, or someone whose mind is attuned to every form of modern knowledge. The new Pope through the events and circumstances of his life, is like the son of Jacob who, meeting with his brothers burst into tears and said, ‘I am Joseph, your brother.’”

10:47 Before his election in October 1958, a Frenchman named Gaston Bardet told Angelo Roncalli 4 years earlier that he would be elected Pope, take the name John and told him that his papacy would be marked by ‘doctrinal interventions and disciplinary reforms.’ Cardinal Roncalli was very troubled by this at the time and told Bardet that he was ‘the victim of a serious and dangerous hallucination.’ Roncalli wrote in a letter to his sister Maria in 1955: ‘Some mad Frenchman who has revelations and second sight, has even given the name I will take when they make me pope. Mad, mad, the whole lot of them.’

10:46 Holy Communion is now distributed.

10:44 What’s the weather like in Rome today?

10:33 We will now pause our live blogging for this most solemn part of the Mass.

10:30 There are 150 cardinals, 700 bishops and many more clergy concelebrating with Pope Francis today.

10:28 The Liturgy of the Eucharist begins.

10:25 How many people are in St Peter’s Square today?

10:22 The Offertory procession begins. The Schola sings the Offertory Chant:

“The angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, said to the women, ‘Whom you are looking for has risen, as he said he would, alleluia.”

10:21 There will now be a series of petitions in different languages. The first petition is in Spanish:

Father, through the prayers of the blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, make your Church radiant with the beauty of new life; in her may all people encounter Jesus risen and alive.

The second petition is in Arabic:

Father, through the prayers of the apostles and evangelists, pour out your Spirit on sinners and those led astray; in their dark night may they encounter Jesus risen and alive.
Let us pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.

The third petition is in English:

Father, through the prayers of the martyrs and confessors of the faith, keep holy our brothers and sisters reborn in the Easter sacraments; in them may all people know the presence of Jesus risen and alive.

The fourth petition is in Chinese:

Let us pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer. Father, through the prayers of St John XXIII, help the leaders of nations, in their thoughts and decisions, to reject every escalation of hatred and violence; may all human relations reveal the victory of Jesus risen and live.

The fifth petition is in French:

Father, through the prayers of St John Paul II, continue to inspire a passionate commitment to human dignity among men and women of culture, science and government; in every person may honour be given to Jesus risen and alive.

10:19 Here is the full text of Pope Francis’s homily at today’s ceremony.

10:12 The Creed is now sung in Latin.

10:10 A moment of silence now follows.

10:07 In convening Vatican 2 John XXIII showed an “exquisite openess” to the Holy Spirit. This was his great service to the Church. “I like to think of him as being the Pope of Openess to the Spirit.” Pope Francis describes Saint John Paul II as the Pope of the Family.

10:06 The two papal saints lived through tragedy but were not overwhelmed by them. For them faith and the mercy of God was more powerful and the closeness of Mary our Mother.

10:03 He says this Sunday we observe “the glorious wounds of the risen Jesus.” The wounds of Jesus are a stumbling block for faith but also a test. That’s why Christ’s wounds remain as they are the enduring sign of Christ’s love for us.

10:02 Pope Francis will now deliver his homily.

09:55 The same Gospel is read in Greek now to demonstrate the universality of the Church.

09:53 Michael Kelly reveals the prayer cards distributed to pilgrims:

09:49 Today is Divine Mercy Sunday in honour of St Faustina. St Faustina is a Polish nun who was canonised by Pope John Paul II. John Paul II instigated her Cause for Canonisation as Bishop of Krakow. She was born on August 25 1905 in Głogowiec and died on October 5 1938 in Kraków, Poland. Throughout her life she reported having visions of Jesus and conversations with him, which she wrote about in The Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul.

09:46 The Gospel according to John, is read in Latin, the universal language of the Church. The translation can be found here.

09:44 The Schola and the assembly now sing the Sequence in Latin:

Christians, to the Paschal Victim offer sacrifice and praise.
The sheep are ransomed by the Lamb; and Christ, the undefiled,
hath sinners to his Father reconciled. Death with life contended:
combat strangely ended!
Life’s own Champion, slain,
yet lives to reign.
Tell us, Mary:
say what thou didst see upon the way. The tomb the Living did enclose;
I saw Christ’s glory as he rose!
The angels there attesting;
shroud with grave-clothes resting.
Christ, my hope, has risen:
he goes before you into Galilee. That Christ is truly risen
from the dead we know. Victorious King,
thy mercy show!

09:41 The Second Reading is from the first letter of St Peter and is read in Polish in honour of Saint John Paul II. The translation can be found here.

09:38 The Responsorial Psalm is now sung in Italian:

“Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Let the sons of Israel say: ‘His love has no end.’ Let the Sons of Aaron say: ‘His love has no end.’ Let those who fear the Lord say: ‘His love has no end.’

I was thrust, thrust down, and falling but the Lord was my helper. The Lord is my strength and my song; he was my saviour. There are shouts of joy and victory in the tents of the just.

The stone which the builders rejected has become the corner stone. This is the work of the Lord, a marvel in our eyes. This day was made by the Lord; we rejoice and are glad.”

09:37 The Liturgy of the Word now begins with the First Reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, in Italian in honour of Saint John XXIII. The translation can be found here.

09:34 The people of Poland are out in force today:

09:32 And here’s the latest on the Pope Emeritus:

09:30 Here’s a good image of reliquaries:

09:28: The Gloria is now sung.

09:27 The Cardinal Prefect addresses Pope Francis, saying:

“Most Holy Father, in the name of Holy Church I thank Your Holiness for making this proclamation and humbly request that you decree that the Apostolic Letter concerning the act of Canonisation be drawn up.”

The Pope replies: “We so decree.”

09:20 The relics of each saint are now being presented to the Pope. Four nieces and nephews of John XXIII present the relics of the late pope, and for John Paul II, Floribeth Mora Diaz, who was miraculously healed on account of John Paul II’s intercession.

09:16: The formula of canonisation read by Pope Francis:

“For the honour of the Blessed Trinity, the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the increase of the Christian life, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own, after due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brother Bishops, we declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II be Saints and we enroll them among the Saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole Church. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

09:14 Third Petition is read by the Cardinal Prefect: “Most Holy Father, Holy Church, trusting in the Lord’s promise to send upon her the Spirit of Truth, who in every age keeps the supreme Magisterium immune from error, most earnestly beseeches Your Holiness to enroll these, her elect, among the Saints.”

09:13 The Schola sings the ancient hymn, “Veni, Creator Spiritus”, invoking the Holy Spirit.

“Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come from thy bright heav’nly throne; come, take possession of our souls, and make them all thine own.
Thou who art called the Paraclete, best gift of God above,
the living spring, the living fire, sweet unction and true love.
Thou who art sevenfold in thy grace, finger of God’s right hand;
his promise, teaching little ones
to speak and understand.
O guide our minds with thy blest light, with love our hearts inflame;
and with thy strength, which ne’er decays, confirm our mortal frame.
Far from us drive our deadly foe; true peace unto us bring;
and through all perils lead us safe beneath thy sacred wing.
Through thee may we the Father know, through thee th’eternal Son,
and thee the Spirit of them both, thrice-blessed three in One.”

09:12 The First Petition is read. Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the saints, accompanied by the postulators of John XXIII and John Paul II, addresses the Holy Father with these words in Latin:

“Most Holy Father, Holy Mother Church earnestly beseeches Your Holiness to enroll Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II among the Saints, that they may be invoked as such by all the Christian faithful.”

Pope Francis then responds, also in Latin:

“Dear brothers, let us lift up our prayers to God the Father Almighty through Jesus Christ, that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all his Saints he may sustain with his grace the act which we now solemnly undertake.”

The Pontiff then prays:

“We ask you, Lord, graciously to accept the prayers of your people, that our devoted service may be pleasing to you and contribute to the growth of your Church. Through Christ our Lord.”

The Second Petition is read. The Cardinal Prefect says:

“Most Holy Father, strengthened by unanimous prayer, Holy Church more earnestly beseeches Your Holiness to enroll these, her children, among the Saints.”

Pope Francis replies:

“Let us, then, invoke the Holy Spirit, the Giver of life, that he may enlighten our minds and that Christ the Lord may not permit his Church to err in a matter of such importance.”

09:05 Pope Francis has just arrived at the ceremony.

09:02 The main celebrants at the altar today will be Cardinals Angelo Soldano, Giovanni Battista Re, Stanislaw Dziwisz and the Bishop of Bergamo, the diocese of John XXIII.

08:57 The Litany of the Saints is about to be sung. This is why:

08:56 Karol Józef Wojtyła was born on May 18 1920 in the Polish town of Wadowice. He was only 38 when he was appointed Bishop of Krakow. When he said that he was too young to be a bishop, Cardinal Wyszynski replied: “That is a weakness of which we are all quickly cured.”

08:52 A veteran Vatican-watcher explains the significance of Benedict XVI’s mitre:

08:47 Saint John XXIII was born Angelo Roncalli in November 1881 and was the fourth of 14 children. He grew up in the village of Bergamo in the province of Lombardy, Italy. His family worked as sharecroppers which was typical of most people in the region. Before he was elected Pope, he held diplomatic posts in Bulgaria, France and Turkey and was made Patriarch of Venice before his election in 1958.

08:40 The Pope Emeritus has just arrived at the canonisation ceremony where he will be concelebrating Mass but not necessarily at the altar itself.

08:39 Welcome to the Catholic Herald’s live blog where we will bring you all the latest updates on this historic moment in the life of the Church.


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