At 10:00a.m. Rome time, which is 4:00a.m. Philadelphia time, an historic moment will be made at the Vatican. Two previous Popes will be elevated to sainthood by Pope Francis, at the same time: Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII. This is a never before seen event in the history of Catholics, whereas in previous years, only one Pope at a time was ever canonized.
By definition, canonization "is the act by which the Catholic Church or Eastern Orthodox Church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints."
Reporting from the city of Rome, as the only Philadelphia television reporter to be on the scene covering the event live, Sarah Bloomquist has been right along side the locals and tourists preparing for the event.
"Hundreds of thousands," Bloomquist says "will congregate in and around the square for the mass but it may not actually be the millions predicted. Rome is ready, the Red Cross is on standby and thousands of police officers are moving into place. The overflow crowd will watch on 17 big screens set up in the city's squares. It's expected that delegations from more than 100 countries with at least 24 heads of state will be in attendance along with as many as 150 cardinals."
Bloomquist interviewed several individuals during her stay in Rome, including a few locals from Philadelphia who had traveled there to see the historic event. One of those individuals is Dr. William Madges from St. Joseph's University. The two talked briefly about Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI, who will also be in attendance to the ceremony.
Bloomquist explains that "Pope Francis, most likely with Pope Benedict XVI at his side, will conduct what's expected to be about a two hour mass, ultimately declaring these two 20th century popes as saints."
Madges says "Pope Francis doesn't like terribly long ceremonies. He likes to keep it relatively simple but there's a whole process before the Eucharist takes place."
Bloomquist, in her report, goes on to say that "after the popes are named saints, chosen people close to them will carry a relic to the alter, an ampule of blood for Pope John Paul II and a bone fragment from Pope John XXIII."
Madges then adds "that's part of the ceremony too because that's how they are physically present in the ceremony that recognizes them as saints."
6abc, Action News, plans to broadcast the canonization live from the Vatican at 4:00a.m. Eastern Standard Time on April 27. The event can also been seen online at their website, http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/live, starting at 4:00a.m. EST.