Pope Francis Announces Canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII Set for April 2014

The Vatican looks forward to lots of visitors for April's canonization ceremony.

Tourists walk past a giant photo of late Pope John Paul II in St Peter's Square on April 28, 2011, at The Vatican.  (Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images)
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Pope Francis announced Monday Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII will be canonized to sainthood on April 27, 2014.

This canonization ceremony holds significance for a number of reasons, starting with the fact that no two people have ever been canonized at the same time. AP reports that the reasoning for the canonization of the two popes together is to create unity in the church, as each pope retains different supporters and critics. Analysts suggest that Francis must admire both considering that on the anniversary of John Paul's death he prayed at the burial sites of both.

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This canonization is also significant in the interest of Francis overlooking certain qualifications for John XXIII, which are customarily required for the induction to sainthood.

"You put a holy life and two miracles together, according to the Catholic system, you've got a saint," John Allen, CNN's Vatican analyst said.

And though John XXIII is admired for the part he played in the Second Vatican Council, he was only reported to have performed one miracle.

But Allen told CNN that Pope Francis had decided John XXIII had lived a life of "heroic virtue... There already was one miracle certified for his beatification in 2000, so Pope Francis has decided he doesn't have to pass go, doesn't have to collect $200, he can go directly to sainthood."

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Allen also explained the Catholic Church's observance of sainthood is only the act of defining what has already been fulfilled in heaven.

The dual canonization ceremony will also include the presence of two popes; Francis, who will preside, and Pope Benedict, who was the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years.

Hundreds of thousands are expected to attend the service, peppered full of "firsts." In fact, the canonization was originally scheduled for Dec. 8, 2013, but the Vatican rescheduled the date at the Polish bishops' insistence that many believers might not be able to make it to the ceremony with slick roads and treacherous traveling conditions.

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