Becoming a Saint: John Paul II Shrine Celebrates

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9)--On Sunday, for the first time in history, two Popes will be named Saints on the same day. Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII.

"We are very excited about the canonization of John Paul II," says Patrick Kelly who is Executive Director of the Blessed John Paul II Shrine in Northeast DC

MORE: Schedule of Events at Blessed John Paul II Shrine

The Blessed John Paul II Shrine is designed as a spiritual destination. It is also a link to the man who is about to become a Saint.

"He could have gone many different ways in his life.," says Kelly, "Could have done many different things but he decided to become a priest."

The Shrine has a long list of events this weekend to celebrate John Paul II becoming a Saint. For example, they will be simulcasting the Mass at 3:15 a.m. DC time. They will re-run the ceremony at 1 p.m.

Visitors to the Shrine can also tour an exhibit that celebrates John Paul the Son, John Paul the Actor, John Paul the Writer, John Paul the Outdoor Enthusiast and Athlete. And, John Paul the Witness To Christ.

Also on display is the Pontiff's cassock, red shoes, and pastoral staff. There are personal keepsakes: a picture of his parents that he always kept on his bedside table, his Rosary, a Swiss watch, a fountain pen with samples of his writings. There are also Sacred Relics.

"The first one is a piece of the cassock that he was wearing when he was shot in St. Peter's Square. And the cassock is actually stained with his blood. The second relic is the vial of his actual blood that we have. And we will have those here this weekend for the faithful to come and venerate," Kelly explains.

At 9:30 Sunday morning there will be a Renaming Ceremony on the front lawn of the Shrine. They will be unveiling the new name for the building--Saint John Paul II National Shrine.

Kelly calls Pope John Paul II "A seminal figure of the 20th Century." A man before his time, and yet for the time.

"He is a person of a wide background. And I think that is one of the things that make him such an interesting person. And he brought all of that with him as Pope."

MORE: Basilica of the National Shrine

The Basilica of the National Shrine will have two special Masses on Sunday to celebrate the canonizations of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII. One at 12 noon and one at 2 p.m.. The mass at 2 p.m. will be officiated by the Preacher to the Papal Household. He's literally the preacher to the Popes. He knew and served John Paul II, .Pope Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis.


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