April 27, 2014

Divine Mercy Sunday: Second Sunday of Easter

Today the Church celebrates the canonizations of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII.  Pope John XXIII was Supreme Pontiff from 1958 through to 1963.  When he was elected, the Bishops expected him to be a quiet and more of a caretaker of the Church due to his advanced age.  He was already 77 when he was elected.  The Church was shocked when Pope John XXIII called the first Ecumenical Council 100 years and the first to be completed since the Council of Trent in the 1500s!

Vatican II, named such because it was the second Ecumenical Council to be held at the Vatican, changed the way the Church understood itself in the world.  The Church went from being closed in on itself, not easily understood, where only the clergy could understand her teachings, the Mass was only celebrated in Latin and the people had little to no voice in the Church, to a Church who engages the world, celebrates Mass in the language of the people, teaches the people about the faith and the laity are encouraged to fully, actively and consciously participate in the Mass through prayer, responses and song.

After Pope John XXIII died, Pope Paul VI concluded the Council, Pope John Paul I then held the Office of Peter for 33 days after which a Polish man named Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope and took the name John Paul II in honor of his predecessor.  He was the first non-Italian Pope as well as the First Pope to travel the world.  These two men did so much to shape the Church today, paving the way for Pope Francis to continue in the mission they began to change the way the Church interacts with the World, being in the world, but not of the world.  Pope St. John Paul II and Pope St. John XXIII, pray for us!

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