NZ Church preparing to celebrate canonisation of 2 Popes

Already plans are well underway inNew Zealand’s  cathedral churches to mark the canonisation of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II .

The canonisations will take place at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome at 10am on 27 April, the Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday). The corresponding time here in New Zealand will be at 8pm on that Sunday evening.

Some cathedrals and churches in New Zealand are planning to observe the event on the Sunday evening closer to the actual time of canonisation in Rome while others are planning to do so during their earlier morning Masses.

  • In Auckland and Wellington the Sunday Masses will feature photograph and other displays about the pontificates and teachings of the two popes and there will be diplomatic and consular representation from Poland and Italy.
  • Christchurch and Palmerston North cathedrals are also including photograph displays and special prayers during their Sunday Masses.
  • Bishop Denis Browne of the Hamilton Diocese will be in Rome for the canonisations, leading a group of pilgrims from his diocese. The day also marks the feast day of the diocesan patron, St Peter Chanel, and marks the 34th anniversary of the establishment of the diocese. This year the special diocesan Mass will be held at St Mary’s Church in Rotorua where, along with the cathedral and other parish churches, there will be special prayers and observances of the canonisation.
  • SKY News is checking to see whether they might give direct coverage to the event.  Possibly it will be screened also on CNN and BBC TV.  Those with access to EWTN will also be able to watch live coverage from Rome.

Last week the Holy See Press Office presented some information about the canonisations. These include a digital platform to allow access to news and information about the ceremonies as well as a series of reflections on the life and teachings of both popes.

The official site,, is an almost-completed portal offering information, videos and images and well as documentation on the two popes in five languages.

The app, entitled “Santo Subito” may be downloaded in both android and IOS formats in Italian, English, Spanish and Polish will offer information as well as access to the main news on the canonisations, and will allow material relating to the various liturgical events to be downloaded.

Even young New Zealanders will remember Pope John Paul who died only nine years ago in 2005. Those of an older generation will have fond memories of “Good Pope John” who died in June 1963 as the pope who broke the mould of the distant, somewhat austere figures of his predecessors with his informality and warmth.

Perhaps the testimony of the world when he died was best expressed by a newspaper drawing of the earth shrouded in mourning with the simple caption, “A Death in the Family”. The two popes have been described respectively as the ‘herald’ and the ‘servant’ of the Second Vatican Council.

Last  year when Pope Francis was asked by reporters, while on his flight back from World Youth Day in Rio, to describe the two great popes year, he said that Blessed John was a bit of a country priest who loved each of the faithful and knew how to care for them both as bishop and nuncio. He described him as holy, patient man with a good sense of humour and especially, by calling the Second Vatican Council, as a man of courage who let himself be guided by the Lord.

And speaking of Blessed John Paul II, Pope Francis told reporters that he thought of him as the great missionary of the Church because he was a man who proclaimed the Gospel everywhere.

Many of us remember Pope John Paul’s visit here in November 1986 to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. It coincided with the 150th anniversary of the appointment of the first Bishop of Oceania, Jean Baptiste Pompallier, who later became New Zealand’s first bishop.

John Paul had earlier visited New Zealand in 1973 when as Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the Archbishop of Cracow, he came to meet with the Polish community. His visit as the first Pope to come to New Zealand in 1986 gained unprecedented media coverage second only to that of earlier Royal Tours.

The National Liturgy Office of the NZ Catholic Bishops’ Conference has issued some suggestions and resources for parishes, schools and communities to help them celebrate the canonisations. These can be found on their website and on the Auckland diocesan website.


Read original article by Lyndsay Freer

Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

Tags: , , ,