VATICAN CITY (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Bishop Kevin Farrell of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas was among an estimated 800,000 people who watched as two 20th-century popes were elevated to sainthood Sunday morning.
Pope Francis has declared John the 23rd and John Paul the Second saints in a historic Vatican ceremony aimed at bringing together the conservative and progressive wings of the church.
Retired Pope Benedict joined Francis on the altar in St. Peter’s Square, the first time a reigning and retired pope have celebrated Mass together in public in the 2,000-year history of the church.
Hundreds of thousands of people filled the square, the streets around it and bridges over the Tiber River.
Bishop Farrell, a trustee on the Papal Foundation board, attended the ceremony. Bishop Farrell has met John Paul the Second many times, and met Pope Francis in 2013.
John was pope from 1958-1963. He is a hero to liberal Catholics for having convened the Second Vatican Council, which brought changes such as allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages rather than Latin.
John Paul helped topple communism and invigorated a new generation of Catholics during his quarter-century as head of the church. His defense of core church teaching on abortion, marriage and other hot-button issues heartened conservatives after the turbulent 1960s.
Pope Francis praised both men, John for having called the council and John Paul for helping implement it.
Back in North Texas, the St. Albert the Great Priory in Irving held a viewing of the canonization for seminary students from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday morning.
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