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April 23: All roads lead to Rome
— busy beyond telling

April 24: All roads
lead to Rome
— Il Papa viene

April 25: All roads
lead to Rome
— everybody's here

April 26: All roads
lead to Rome
— a Costarrican celebration

April 27: All roads
lead to Rome
— rejoicing with the saints!


Up to 1 million people watched Pope Francis elevate two modern popes to sainthood.
Courtesy photos
Father Alexander Q. Castillo was one of
200 priests assigned to distribute Communion at the canonization Mass.

Rev. Alexander Q. Castillo

April 27, 2014
All roads lead to Rome
— rejoicing with the saints!

“For the honor of the Blessed Trinity, the exaltation of the Christian faith and the increase of the Christian life, by the authority of the 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.”

With this formula, after three different petition formulas were recited, Pope Francis canonized the two popes in Rome on April 27.

According to some TV stations, around a million people were present for the canonization Mass. It has been truly a glorious day for our Church, rejoicing in the glory of the saints. Hundreds of pilgrims slept over on the streets, to get a good spot for the Mass. The weather was a little cold and we were afraid because of the chances of rain.

There were more than 200 priests assigned to distribute Communion to the faithful. I was one of them, and I will never forget that. It was a huge blessing for me to be able to participate during this celebration. Besides, I realized that not only the Oakland Master of Ceremonies faces difficulties during special liturgies (heh, heh, heh).

From my seat, looking to the altar and then to the multitude, I was overwhelmed. I was just in front of the picture of St. John XXIII, and I could see both: those at St. Peter Square and those next to the altar. I can say that what the Lord has given to us, His Church today, can only be understood through the eyes of faith, and I do not think there are words to describe something like this. At least, I do not have them.

(Father Castillo is secretary of the bishop and episcopal master of ceremonies for the Diocese of Oakland. He is in Rome for the canonizations of the two popes.)

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