For many, the only Pope they knew for many years was Pope John Paul II. Having served as our Holy Father from 1978 until 2005, he was one of the longest reigning Popes in history. Remembering his frail state of health at the end of his earthly life it is easy to forget how young and dynamic he was back when he first became Pope. A man who like to hike, ski and even clown around a bit, he was a bit of a change from Popes of the past.
Certainly his role on the world stage was unique: helping to bring down the fall of Communism in his native Poland and traveling to over 124 countries set him apart from is predecessors.
With such a popular Pope it became obvious that there would be pressure to elevate him to Sainthood as early as possible. One obstacle was removed by Pope Benedict XVI, that of the five year waiting period before the process could begin.
Certainly he elevated many to Sainthood himself. Here is a photo we took in 2005 when he Canonized Saint Juan Diego in Mexico City. Although his health had obviously begun to fail he still traveled half-way across the world for this event.
The pathway to Sainthood is obviously well under way, and that means lots of speculation as to when it will take place. Many people are hoping for October, while others say it just can’t be before December since that takes too much time to prepare for such an event and still others say it won’t be until next year. We know Pope Francis is a man of unexpected surprises, so I would not bet on any of these dates. He does what he wants, when he wants, and that will be the case here as well.