Statement of Cardinal Wuerl on Announcement of Canonization Date for Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II

September 30, 2013

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, today reflected on the announcement by the Vatican that the canonization of Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II will take place on April 27, 2014.

Cardinal Wuerl’s statement follows below:

“Both Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II are extraordinary witnesses to the perennial task of the Church to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ into dialogue with the contemporary cultures of our world. It was Blessed John XXIII who convoked the Second Vatican Council because he believed that the Church needed a pastoral renewal that would enable the Church to minister more effectively to contemporary society. In his time he sensed that new ways were needed to communicate Christian doctrine, to reveal the inherent attractiveness of the Gospel, while protecting its integrity. He told us we needed to be filled with hope and faith, discover new ways of teaching the faith more effectively, deepen our understanding of doctrine and ‘use the medicine of mercy’ as we seek unity within the Church, with Christians separated from Catholicism, with those of non-Christian religions and with all men and women of good will.

“Blessed John Paul II will always be remembered for an extraordinary papacy that brought him to every part of the world. In the 26 years that he was pope, he traveled far and wide, met huge numbers of people and encouraged them with the words, ‘Be not afraid.’ ‘Put your trust in God.’ ‘Open your hearts to Christ.’ He initiated the New Evangelization and invited all of us to turn to everyone around us and share the good news that God loves us.

“It is so fitting that the canonization will take place on April 27, Divine Mercy Sunday, which Blessed John Paul II instituted worldwide during his pontificate and which echoes the inspiration of Blessed John XXIII, ‘Use the medicine of mercy.’

“By declaring Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II saints, the Church will be honoring the lives and teaching legacy of two holy men who brought their wisdom, spirituality and pastoral sensitivity to the concerns all of us continue to face today.

“On a particularly personal note, it will be profoundly moving to be at Saint Peter’s Basilica for the canonization of the pope who in that very same basilica 28 years ago, ordained me a bishop – Saint John Paul II.”

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 96 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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