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Canonizations are better together

Denver’s Polish community will mark the historic moment Pope John Paul II is pronounced a saint by a three-day celebration at St. Joseph Polish Church.

While the Rome saint-making ceremony is underway, all of Denver’s faithful are invited to celebrate the April 27 canonization of the Polish-born pope along with St. Joseph Polish, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and other parish communities.

This is the second year the Polish church has joined with the nearby Hispanic church to mark Divine Mercy Sunday, also on April 27, and venerate the Polish-born St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, whose feast is the same day.

The pastor, Society of Christ priest Father Marek Ciesla, was first approached about a joint celebration by the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity, he said. They suggested a celebration with Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, whose members have a devotion to the Divine Mercy.

“Everything is so connected,” Father Ciesla said. “This year it is real special, and we will all be connected with the canonization in Rome.”

Pope John Paul II’s canonization is important to the Polish church, which houses a first-class relic of the soon-to-be-saint and St. Faustina. The pontiff canonized St. Faustina and was instrumental in establishing the Divine Mercy feast day. John Paul II later died on the vigil of Divine Mercy.

The canonization is an opportunity for faithful to study and become more familiar with John Paul II’s teachings and writings, Father Ciesla said.

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“It’s like a final stamp to say he is truly a saint and a great example and model to follow,” he said.

The celebration begins at St. Joseph Polish 7 p.m. April 24 and April 25 with a conference followed by Benediction and a sung Divine Mercy chaplet, alternately said in English, Spanish and Polish.

On April 27, faithful will process from Our Lady of Guadalupe Church near Interstate 25 and 38th Avenue to St. Joseph Polish at I-70 and Washington Street in thanksgiving for God’s mercy.

Aztec dancers from Commerce City will perform before a 2 p.m. outdoor Mass near the Polish church celebrated by
Msgr. Bernard Schmitz, vicar for clergy, and Father Benito Hernandez, C.R., pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, with Father Ciesla.

Later, a Polish youth choir will sing folk songs during veneration of relics inside the church. A free reception held afterward will include Hispanic and Polish food. Call 303-296-3217 for details.

Canonization and Divine Mercy Sunday

Join the local celebration to observe the historic canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II in Rome on Divine Mercy Sunday. The following schedule will be held in English, Spanish and Polish.

7 p.m. April 24 and April 25: conference, Benediction and Divine Mercy chaplet
12:30 p.m. April 27: procession from Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Joseph Polish
2 p.m. April 27: Mass at St. Joseph Polish
3 p.m.: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Divine Mercy Chaplet. Veneration of relics and reception afterward.
Information: Call 303-296-3217 or 303-477-1402



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