Pope John Paul II will be canonized on April 27 next year, a top Vatican source has told Newsmax exclusively.
Although the Vatican has not officially confirmed the date, Pope Francis has already let it be known in a private conversation that the Sunday after Easter is the date he wants for the ceremony.
When asked by an official close to the Pope’s inner circle whether a date had been set, Francis responded with a laugh and replied: “I can tell you now if you like! It will be April 27.”
The source told Newsmax: “I was surprised by his frankness, but he took a step back, laughed and then [said] the date. He was surrounded by top officials who didn’t seem to mind.”
Among those within earshot was Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Pontifical Household, who will be partly responsible for organizing the canonization ceremony.
Pope John XXIII, who was pontiff from 1958 to 1963 and convened the Second Vatican Council, is also expected to be canonized on the same date.
The Vatican is expected to make an official announcement on Sept. 30 when a consistory of cardinals will formally approve the canonization date.
During a papal press conference on his return from Rio de Janeiro July 28, Pope Francis said both Popes will be canonized “together,” but said it was unlikely the canonizations would take place during the autumn or winter as many Poles will be traveling to Rome for the ceremony by bus, and the road conditions could be bad.
After speaking with Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, John Paul II’s former private secretary and archbishop of Krakow, he said two other possible dates arose: Christ the King Sunday, which falls this year on Nov. 24, and Divine Mercy Sunday — the Sunday after Easter — which will be on April 27, 2014.
Pope Francis said he thought there was “too little time” for the canonizations to take place in November and said he needed to speak with the person in charge of saints’ causes, Cardinal Angelo Amato. The cardinal said at the end of August that the date will be officially announced on Sept. 30.
Asked on Tuesday if he could confirm the date, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi told Newsmax: “The consistory is held precisely in order to establish and announce the date publicly, so I don’t think it’s correct to say that the thing is already decided. If it isn’t, we should save ourselves for the consistory.”
But he added: “We can say that it is very likely, given that the Pope made an explicit reference to [Divine Mercy Sunday] in the interview on the return flight from Rio, saying that he realized that in winter, it would be difficult for pilgrims from Poland and countries of Central and Northern Europe to attend, and so it was better to postpone until the spring.”
Divine Mercy Sunday is a special day for John Paul, who established the feast day in 2001. Its origins date back to Polish nun Faustina Kowalska, who had a devotion to the Divine Mercy after an encounter with Jesus.
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