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Saint John’s

I think it would be generally accepted that the whole world was spiritually moved by yesterday’s canonization ceremonies officially proclaiming sainthood for Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.

While the Roman Catholic church has a kind of ecclesiastical monopoly on the naming of saints, there are no doubt protestants, Jews, Buddhists and members of countless expressions of faith that deserve the title.

But Sunday, people across the broadcast range of organized religious, celebrated the recognition of these two catholic leaders whose lives were inspirational and, by the grace of God, I have found myself in the company of both.

Many Phoenicians, like I, participated in the visit of John Paul II in 1987 and attended his mass at Sun Devil Stadium and another service at the Coliseum. That was memorable for all of us.

But the most unforgettable papal moment in my life was, as a young man in Italy, spontaneously wandering into a side door at St. Peter’s Basilica and finding myself next to the altar where mass was about to be officiated by John XXIII.

You know — it’s kinda nice to hang around with saints.

I’m Pat McMahon.