Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Day of Four Popes: Two Popes, Two Saints (Research Guide)

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On Divine Mercy Sunday this year, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square to witness Pope Francis’ canonization of two of the most influential popes of modern times, John XXIII and John Paul II. Retired Pope Benedict XVI was in attendance. This now historic day has been called the "Day of Four Popes," because it was the first time in the history of the Church that two popes were made saints in the same day, with two living popes taking part in the mass and ceremony.

Pope John XXIII was the main architect of the Second Vatican Council and the wide-ranging changes in all aspects of the Church that it brought about. Pope John Paul II was the most-traveled pope in history as he sought to bring the Gospel to the far-corners of the world. The first Polish pope, he also played an important role in the fall of the Soviet Union.

Pope Francis ended his homily on Sunday eloquently declaring, “May both of [the new saints] teach us not to be scandalized by the wounds of Christ and to enter ever more deeply into the mystery of divine mercy, which always hopes and always forgives, because it always loves.”

In honor of this historic, unprecedented event, Gumberg librarian Ted Bergfelt has created a research guide designed to help Duquesne University students, faculty, and staff learn more about the two new saints. The guide includes links to Pope Francis’ homily, a video of the canonization, biographies of the new saints, and information on connections to Pittsburgh and the Duquesne community.