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placeholder John XXIII, John
Paul II changed
way church relates
to other faiths

Two popes
and one diocese

Polish community makes preparations
for thanksgiving

10 interesting
popes who have
been declared saints

Beyond doctrine
and politics

Pope John Paul II:
A chronological
record of the life and accomplishments
of Karol Wojtyla

Key events
in the life of Pope

Three friends
develop program
to help youth
consider vocation

Divine Mercy
Sunday: Merciful
love of God behind
the Paschal Mystery

'Peter and the Wolf' makes some
new fans

Dominicans honor
Catholic educators

3 Questions:
Campus outreach
Eunice J. Park

Cinco de Mayo
parade ends
at St. Paul's

Fatima celebrations
at St. James

Rev. Vladimir Kozina

Rev. Pedro Ottonello, OAD

Shelter Shuffle
helps fund FESCO

Achievement scholarship

Vacation Bible
School provides opportunity
to share the faith

VBS redesigned
to meet the needs
of families

Salesian Pride

Program for middle school success
begins at SJND

Trends in sports camps

placeholder April 21, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 8   •   Oakland, CA
Polish community makes preparations
for thanksgiving Mass

Deacon Witold Cichon

When Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, celebrates a Solemn Mass and Te Deum in Thanksgiving for the canonization of Blessed Pope John XXIII and Blessed Pope John Paul II, the evening before their canonization in Rome, the pews will be filled with the grateful faithful.

"It is a wonderful gift to us," said Deacon Witold Cichon, director of the diocese's Polish Pastoral and Cultural Center. "We are very glad. Bishop Barber was very considerate when we asked about this special Mass," he said.

The liturgy for the Mass, at 5:30 p.m. April 26 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, will include elements of the native languages of the two popes, as well as influences of the global reach of both.

Blessed John Paul, known as a globetrotter who made 104 trips outside Italy, served as pope from 1978 to 2005 and was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1, 2011. Blessed John XXIII, known particularly for convoking the Second Vatican Council, was pope from 1958 to 1963; Pope John Paul beatified him in 2000.

The first reading will be in Spanish, Deacon Cichon said, with the second reading in Polish. The prayers of the faithful will be offered in seven languages, including Blessed John XXIII's native Italian.

"We'd love to see the whole cathedral filled with the faithful," said Deacon Cichon. After Mass, the Polish community will be offering hospitality, with traditional food and cake. The children of the Polish school in Walnut Creek will dance.

The Polish community has invited the Italian Catholic community to join in the festivities. "We love John XXIII very much," he said.

"Italians have 100 saints who were popes," he said. "Poland has only one."

Having the two canonized together, he said, is "the best thing that can happen."

"It's a good reason to ring the bell and thank God for everything," he said.

There should be plenty of bell ringing in Rome, where estimates are that a million people will attend the Mass in St. Peter's Square. Hundreds of thousands of people will have to watch the ceremony on large video screens.

The Prefecture of the Papal Household issued an advisory that access to St. Peter's Square would be first-come, first-served and warned pilgrims that unscrupulous tour operators already were trying to sell fake tickets to the Mass.

A month before the big day, Rome hotels were reporting being booked to near-capacity.

Asked by reporters in July 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" in Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece and France before becoming a cardinal and patriarch of Venice.

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 said. "He was a man who let himself be guided by the Lord."

As for Blessed John Paul, Pope Francis told the reporters on the plane, "I think of him as 'the great missionary of the church," because he was "a man who proclaimed the Gospel everywhere."

(Catholic News Service contributed to this report.)

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