In the Church we have the relics of St Dominic, St Martin de Porres, St Faustina, St John Paul II and St John XXIII. The relics (all first class relics) of St Faustina, John Paul II and St John XXIII are to be found in a sealed cabinet at the bottom of the Church. These relics were received a few weeks after the Canonisation of all 3 Saints. Many people come to the Church just to visit these relics.
St Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II was born Karol Józef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland. He was ordained in 1946, became the bishop of Ombi in 1958, and became the archbishop of Krakow in 1964. He was made a cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1967, and in 1978 became the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years. He was a vocal advocate for human rights and used his influence to effect political change. He died in Italy in 2005. It was announced in July of 2013 that he would be declared a saint in April of the following year.
Born Karol Józef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland, Pope John Paul II's early life was marked by great loss. His mother died when he was 9 years old, and his older brother Edmund died when he was 12. Growing up, John Paul was athletic and enjoyed skiing and swimming. He went to Krakow's Jagiellonian University in 1938 where he showed an interest in theater and poetry. The school was closed the next year by Nazi troops during the German occupation of Poland. Wanting to become a priest, John Paul began studying at a secret seminary run by the archbishop of Krakow. After World War II ended, he finished his religious studies at a Krakow seminary and was ordained in 1946.
John Paul spent two years in Rome where he finished his doctorate in theology. He returned to his native Poland in 1948 and served in several parishes in and around Krakow. John Paul became the bishop of Ombi in 1958 and then the archbishop of Krakow six years later. Considered one of the Catholic Church's leading thinkers, he participated in the Second Vatican Council—sometimes called Vatican II. The council began reviewing church doctrine in 1962, holding several sessions over the course of the next few years. As a member of the council, John Paul helped the church to examine its position in the world. Well regarded for his contributions to the church, John Paul was made a cardinal in 1967 by Pope Paul VI.
In 1978, John Paul made history by becoming the first non-Italian pope in more than four hundred years. As the leader of the Catholic Church, he traveled the world, visiting more than 100 countries to spread his message of faith and peace. But he was close to home when he faced the greatest threat to his life. In 1981, an assassin shot John Paul twice in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City. Fortunately, he was able to recover from his injuries and later forgave his attacker.
A vocal advocate for human rights, John Paul often spoke out about suffering in the world. He held strong positions on many topics, including his opposition to capital punishment. A charismatic figure, John Paul used his influence to bring about political change and is credited with the fall of communism in his native Poland. He was not without critics, however. Some have stated that he could be harsh with those who disagreed with him and that he would not compromise his hard-line stance on certain issues, such as contraception.
In his later years, John Paul's health appeared to be failing. At public appearances, he moved slowly and seemed unsteady on his feet. He also visibly trembled at times. One of his doctors also disclosed that John Paul had Parkinson's disease, a brain disorder often characterized by shaking, in 2001. But there was never any official announcement about his illness from the Vatican.
John Paul II died on April 2, 2005, at the age of 84, at his Vatican City residence. More than 3 million people waited in line to say good-bye to their beloved religious leader at St. Peter's Basilica before his funeral on April 8.
On July 5, 2013, waving the usual five-year waiting period, the Vatican announced that the Roman Catholic Church would declare Pope John Paul II a saint, and that the canonization ceremony would likely take place within the next 16 months. The Vatican also stated that Pope John XXIII, who headed the Catholic Church from 1958 until his death in 1963 and convened the Vatican II council, would also be declared a saint.
On September 30, 2013, Pope Francis announced that the canonizations of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII would occur on April 27, 2014. The announcement of Pope John Paul II's canonization came after the Vatican revealed that two miracles were attributed to the late pope. After a dying French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, prayed to Pope John Paul II for during her battle with Parkinson's disease—the same illness that killed the pope—she was cured. The second miracle involved a 50-year-old woman, who claimed that she was cured of a brain aneurysm after a photograph of Pope John Paul II spoke to her.
The official sainthood ceremony, held on April 27, 2014, brought together four popes. Pope Francis led the event to elevate Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII to sainthood, which was also attended by Francis's predecessor Emeritus Pope Benedict.
Pope John XXIII
Pope John XXIII (born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (25 November 1881 – 3 June 1963) was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 28 October 1958 to his death in 1963; he was canonized on 27 April 2014. Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was one of thirteen children born to a family of sharecroppers who lived in a village in Lombardy. He was ordained to the priesthood on 10 August 1904 and served in a number of posts, as nuncio in France and a delegate to Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. In a consistory on 12 January 1953 Pope Pius XII made Roncalli a cardinal as the Cardinal-Priest of Santa Prisca in addition to naming him as the Patriarch of Venice.
Roncalli was unexpectedly elected pope on 28 October 1958 at age 76 after 11 ballots. Pope John XXIII surprised those who expected him to be a caretaker pope by calling the historic Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), the first session opening on 11 October 1962.
John XXIII made many passionate speeches during his pontificate. His views on equality were summed up in his statement, "We were all made in God's image, and thus, we are all Godly alike." He made a major impact on the Catholic Church, opening it up to dramatic unexpected changes promulgated at the Vatican Council and by his own dealings with other churches and nations. In Italian politics, he prohibited bishops from interfering with local elections, and he helped the Christian Democratic Party to cooperate with the socialists. In international affairs, his "Ostpolitik" engaged in dialogue with the Communist countries of Eastern Europe. He especially reached out to the Eastern Orthodox churches. His overall goal was to modernize the Church by emphasizing its pastoral role, and its necessary involvement with affairs of state. He dropped the traditional rule of 70 cardinals, increasing the size to 85. He used the opportunity to name the first cardinals from Africa, Japan, and the Philippines. He promoted ecumenical movements in cooperation with other Christian faiths. In doctrinal matters, he was a traditionalist, but he ended the practice of automatically formulating social and political policies on the basis of old theological propositions.
He did not live to see the Vatican Council to completion. His cause for canonization was opened on 18 November 1965 by his successor, Pope Paul VI, who declared him a Servant of God. On 5 July 2013, Pope Francis – bypassing the traditionally required second miracle – declared John XXIII a saint, based on his virtuous, model lifestyle, and because of the good which had come from his having opened the Second Vatican Council. He was canonised alongside Pope John Paul II on 27 April 2014. John XXIII today is affectionately known as the "Good Pope" and in Italian, "il Papa buono".
St Maria Faustyna Kowalska
Maria Faustyna Kowalska (born Helena Kowalska; 1905–1938), also known as Saint Maria Faustyna Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament and popularly spelled Faustina, was a Polish Roman Catholic nun and mystic. Her apparitions of Jesus Christ inspired the Roman Catholic devotion to the Divine Mercy and earned her the title of "Secretary of Divine Mercy".
Throughout her life, Kowalska reported having visions of Jesus and conversations with him, of which she wrote in her diary, later published as The Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul. Her biography, submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, quoted some of these conversations with Jesus regarding the Divine Mercy devotion.
At the age of 20 years, she joined a convent in Warsaw, was transferred to P?ock, and was later moved to Vilnius where she met her confessor Father Micha? Sopo?ko, who supported her devotion to the Divine Mercy. Kowalska and Sopo?ko directed an artist to paint the first Divine Mercy image, based on Kowalska's vision of Jesus. Sopo?ko used the image in celebrating the first Mass on the first Sunday after Easter. Subsequently, Pope John Paul II established the Feast of Divine Mercy on that Sunday of each liturgical year.
The Roman Catholic Church canonized Kowalska as a saint on 30 April 2000. The mystic is classified in the liturgy as a virgin and is venerated within the church as the "Apostle of Divine Mercy". Her tomb is in Divine Mercy Sanctuary, Kraków-?agiewniki, where she spent the end of her life and met confessor Józef Andrasz who also supported the message of mercy.