The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Despite recent reports of waning Catholicism, millions of Catholics in Latin America have been dubbed the “continent of hope” for the Roman Church and celebrated the canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II with a symbolic ceremonies in parallel with Pope Francisco in Rome, the first Latin American pope in history.

From Argentina, Francisco’s native country, to Colombia, Central America and the Caribbean to Mexico, Catholics attended church services and other events to thank the elevation to the altars of John XXIII, the “good pope” who convened the Council Vatican II, and John Paul II, the “traveler pontiff” who visited several times the “continent of hope “.

“The Latin American devotion to the two popes expresses itself because one of them pushed on the Vatican, a revolutionary event that brought the Church to the South, and because the other one identified himself with the continent who he called ‘ Mexican’, ‘Brazil’, ‘Argentina’, ‘Colombian’ or ‘Guatemala’, depending on where he was.

“It is simply about saints of our time that we could see and feel closely, especially John Paul II, who loved and left footprint in Latin America,” added Gold, a university professor of Colombian history of religions.

The “Latin communion” with the ceremony that took place in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, began early on Sunday, following the announcement that Francisco called the young Argentines to meet Jesus, not be afraid and go on, in a recorded message in a prayer vigil in Buenos Aires.

“Fear not, direct towards Jesus and Mary and look forward,” Francisco told hundreds of young people gathered in a public walkway of Argentina’s capital to celebrate the “Young Easter” Sunday on the eve of Divine mercy and canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II, the latter a Polish-born pope.

The Polish community in Latin America also attended church services to celebrate “their” saint.

In Brazil, the Latin American country with the largest number of Catholics, a small church in the city of Salvador, capital of Bahia state, adopted on Sunday the Holy name John Paul II on the occasion of the canonization of this Pope and John XXIII.

The temple which is named after the new saint of the Catholic Church, is located in the district of Alagados and hundreds of worshipers gathered there to follow television events held in the Vatican by Francisco.

The pastor of Alagados, Etienne Kern, told reporters that the parish was founded on July 7, 1980, coinciding with a visit of St. John Paul II to the city of Salvador.

Mexicans also celebrated the canonization of “compatriot” John Paul II and John XXIII with various events, recalling that both popes “really loved ” the Virgin of Guadalupe, patron saint of the country and empress of America.

Mexico, the Spanish-speaking country with the largest number of Catholics in the world, paid a special tribute to the Polish pope, considered the most beloved pontiff by Mexicans, an affection that was forged during the five visits he made to the Latin American nation, the first in 1979 and the last in 2002.

It was on that last visit in which John Paul II performed the ceremony to canonize Juan Diego, to whom, according to Catholic tradition, the Virgin appeared four times in 1531.

Because of those appearances in the north of Mexico City arises the Basilica of Guadalupe, the most revered temple by Mexicans. There the most important event of the celebration was celebrated this Sunday.

In Colombia, where John Paul II was in 1986, also on a Sunday evoked the “pope traveler” who prayed for peace in the Andean country.

Indeed, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, said that Pope Francisco sent him a message in which he asked him to persevere in the peace process for the Andean country.

Santos said the bearer of the message was the Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin, who attended onSunday the Vatican’s canonization of the popes.

Salvadoran Catholics asked the new saints John XXIII and John Paul II to intercede for the early canonization of the murdered Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Arnulfo Romero.

In Honduras, the Catholic Church celebrated the canonization of the two pontiffs and stated that the proclamation of the popes as saints strengthens the faith of the parishioners.

Guatemala united for the jubilation with four marches that converged at the Metropolitan Cathedral in the nation’s capital to participate in a Mass of Thanksgiving.

From the Caribbean, Dominican First Lady, Candida Montilla of Medina, invited Pope Francisco to visit the country and recalled that John Paul II traveled three times to the Caribbean nation.

On Sunday Francisco thanked the faithful people worldwide, the delegations of countries and religious people for their presence in San Pedro to pay homage to the new saints.

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

San Jose, Costa Rica