WARSAW, Poland — Poland erupted with excitement Monday at news from the Vatican that the late Polish-born Pope John Paul II is to formally be named a saint in 2014.

The upcoming sanctification of Karol Wojtyla was a “great day for Poland,” said Jozef Klock, spokesman of the Catholic bishops conference in Poland. “The best way to prepare is to turn the words (of John Paul II) into action,” he said during a news conference in Warsaw.

The former pope, who died in office in 2005, is to be proclaimed a saint alongside another 20th century pope, John XXIII, on April 27, Pope Francis announced at the Vatican.

The chosen date marks the first Sunday after Easter 2014. That Sunday is also marked by Catholics as Divine Mercy Sunday, a commemoration introduced by John Paul II.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced he would like to travel to Rome to attend the ceremony in the Vatican.

“I’m very reticent when it comes to state delegations at events of religious ceremonies,” he said. “But, as a Pole, I would very much like to be in Rome that day.”

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow and longtime private secretary of John Paul II, told the Polish news agency PAP that he expects “hundreds of thousands” of Polish pilgrims to travel to Rome when Wojtyla is proclaimed a saint.

Francis already had made the decision to canonize the Polish pope after recognizing that he had performed a second miracle following his death. However, he had decided to waive the second-miracle requirement – which is usually required on the path to sainthood – for John XXIII, Italian born Angelo Roncalli.


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