Illinois faithful at Vatican for dual canonization of popes

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More than a million people are expected to be at Vatican City Sunday for the history-making canonization of two popes on the same day.

The church will declare Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II as saints in heaven.  Illinois residents are there for the event, including Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Springfield diocese and formerly a pastor in the Chicago Archdiocese.  Paprocki says he feels very honored to witness history in the making, especially after it was Pope John Paul II who elevated him to bishop.

Paprocki jokingly said he can now say he was appointed a bishop by a saint.  WGN-TV anchor Dina Bair is there.

Not only did she catch-up with Paprocki, but pilgrim Maria Frias of Chicago who is also in Rome for the canonization.  Frias said she’s prepared for a long day as a pilgrim should be, bringing food, a chair, and her cane.  Chicago Cardinal Francis George will not be there because of health concerns as he continues his battle against cancer.

There will be an Archdiocesan Canonization Mass at Holy Name Cathedral Sunday at 5:15.  Several other parishes in the Chicago archdiocese are also planning special prayer services in celebration of the canonization of the two former popes.

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