Adams parishioners celebrate new saints, including their patron
Story and photos by David Martin
ADAMS -- Parishioners at the now St. John Paul II Parish in Adams believe their patron saint and also St. John XXIII are profoundly inspiring and shining examples to others.
The two popes were both canonized as saints earlier today during a Mass celebrated in Rome.
The parish acknowledged the canonization of both St. John Paul II and also St. John XXIII throughout Masses celebrated on this Divine Mercy feast day that was instituted by St. John Paul II when he was pope.
The day began with an 8 a.m. Mass at St. Stanislaus Kostka Mission Church. Parishioner Eugene Michalenko said it was a celebration of the Polish pope who was an important part of helping to see Poland live as a liberated nation and also for St. John XXIII who helped bring renewal to the church during the second half of the 20th century.
“It is a wonderful thing that there were two men from the 20th century who are being canonized and that people realize there are still holy people in the world today,” said Michalenko.
During the Mass, in honor of the canonization, Father John Gawienowski, administrator pro tem of St. John Paul II Parish, led the recitation of the Litany of the Saints that would include their now patron saint and also St. John XXIII.
Father Gawienowski then moved around the church, blessing everyone with Holy Water. He said that this symbol of the renewal of their baptism was their sign that, along with the great saints made on this day, that "they too would have a place prepared for them in the kingdom of Heaven."
A social took place after the Mass in the church’s Kolbe Hall. Jim Loughman, a member of the parish council, said all the parishioners were very excited that both popes were being canonized on the same day, which also happened to be Divine Mercy Sunday. Loughman said at different periods in the church’s history, both popes revived the church and made it more readily accessible to both the Catholic laity and non-Catholics of the world.
“John XXIII certainly began in many ways the modern ecumenical movement. John Paul II's outreach, particularly to the Jewish community, and his attempts to acknowledge the contributions of Protestant holy men have done a great deal to close the divide between Catholics and our non-Catholic brethren,” said Loughman.
A second Mass took place at 10:15 a.m. in the St. John Paul II Church. Father Gawienowski said in his homily that his parishioners have a wonderful friend in John Paul II because whenever help is needed they can turn to the person they have chosen as their patron saint to ask for assistance.
“I always like to say it is good to have friends in high places. It is so wonderful today that we can celebrate that he has been declared a saint. It is wonderful to have a friend like that,” said Father Gawienowski.
Joan Pause,a parishioner of Polish descent, said it was an excellent day for Polish people. She said she always admired her parish’s patron saint because, even as he became ill, he never complained and was "a shining example of how to keep on going."
“The young children, they always adored him because he used to travel all over, so I think that was great,” said Pause.
A celebration of the canonization will take place for children Monday afternoon at St. Stanislaus Kostka School.