Statement from Cardinal Wuerl on the Approval of the Cause for Canonization of Blessed Pope John XXIII and Blessed Pope John Paul II.

July 05, 2013

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, issued the following statement today regarding the approval of the Cause for Canonization of Blessed Pope John XXIII and Blessed Pope John Paul II:

“We were delighted to learn this morning that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has approved the causes for canonization of two of his venerable and much loved predecessors, Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II.

Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, who took the name John XXIII as Pope, was truly a pastor of souls, observing that the answer to the many problems mankind faces today is the firm foundation of God. During a pontificate that bestowed many great gifts upon the Church, he was inspired to call the Second Vatican Council, which can be seen as the impetus for the New Evangelization championed by Pope John Paul and his successors. That effort to proclaim Jesus’ Gospel anew in today’s world began in a special way 50 years ago with Blessed John XXIII’s opening of the council, and I was privileged to be a seminarian in Rome then and witness the impact of this holy pope.

Later as a priest, I was blessed to attend the Installation Mass for Pope John Paul II in Rome in 1978, and his message then –“Be not afraid. Open your hearts to Christ.” – continues to resonate today. Those words remind us that Christ is with us always, and we must put our trust in him. When the Polish-born Karol Wojtyla first appeared on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica as the new Pope John Paul II, most people did not know him, but in his more than 26 years as pope, people felt they knew him personally, as he traveled to more than 130 countries, sharing Christ’s love and hope. With his witness of faith and courage, Pope John Paul II played a key part in the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, but more importantly, he touched the hearts of millions of people around the world, with his teaching and by his example.

Pope John Paul II ordained me as a bishop in Rome in 1986, and 25 years later in that same city, I was privileged to concelebrate his beatification Mass. That same fall, I dedicated the new Blessed John Paul II Seminary in Washington, where 28 of our 79 seminarians for the archdiocese are being taught to continue the legacy of the man known to many as John Paul the Great.

The Catholic Church is marking a special Year of Faith to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council that Blessed John XXIII opened and that Blessed John Paul II embodied in his life and work. The upcoming canonizations of these two great popes remind the world’s Catholics that we are all called to be holy and to open our hearts to Christ. As Jesus’ disciples in today’s world, we are called to deepen our faith and share it with others. Then, like Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II, we can change the world.”

Chieko Noguchi
Secretariat for Communications
[email protected]