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Two saints, 1 day? Historic move could unite Catholics

Catholics around the world will have two new holy figures to pray to this spring on the same day.

"The Vatican has announced that two former popes are to be named saints next April in the first such ceremony in the history of the Catholic Church." (Via BBC)

The Vatican released this statement Monday announcing both Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be elevated to sainthood on April 27 next year. (Via Vatican)

The calls for John Paul’s canonization started immediately after his death in 2005 with signs in St. Peter’s Square that read “Santo Subito,” meaning “make him a saint now.” (Via CNN)

Pope John XXIII was best known for holding the Second Vatican Council in 1962 that helped shape the modern Catholic Church by making it much more open and willing to work with other Christian denominations. He only had one recorded miracle as opposed to the traditional two, but experts say that’s okay. (Via NPR)

"There already was one miracle certified for his beatification in 2000, so Pope Francis has decided he doesn’t have to pass Go and doesn’t have to collect $200. He can go directly to sainthood.” (Via CNN)

So why two saints in one day? Many believe there’s strategy in that.

The National Catholic Reporter predicted months ago canonization for both men would unite the church. “Because of his association with Vatican II, John XXIII is generally a hero to the church’s progressive wing while John Paul II is typically lionized by Catholic conservatives.” (Via National Catholic Reporter

Catholic News Service says Pope Francis chose the April date over a possible December canonization because hundreds of thousands are expected to make the pilgrimage to Rome. He didn’t want them to risk icy roads in celebration. (Via Catholic News Service)

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