Knoxville Cardinal and Bishop attending sainthood ceremony of tw

Knoxville Cardinal and Bishop attending sainthood ceremony of two former popes

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Bishop Richard Stika says he had to give up his bed when Pope John Paul II visited his hometown, while Cardinal Justin Rigali has fond memories working close with him. Bishop Richard Stika says he had to give up his bed when Pope John Paul II visited his hometown, while Cardinal Justin Rigali has fond memories working close with him.
Cardinal Rigali Cardinal Rigali
Knoxville, Tenn - By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Millions and millions of Catholics are expected to be in Rome, Italy this weekend as Pope Francis memorializes two former popes during Sunday's worship service.

Those modern day popes will become saints in the eyes of the faithful, Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII. Among those heading to the Vatican for Sunday's canonization are 12 people from Knoxville.

Two religious leaders from the Knoxville Diocese knew one of the saints-to-be personally, Bishop Richard Stika says he had to give up his bed when Pope John Paul II visited his hometown, while Cardinal Justin Rigali has fond memories working close with him.

We caught up with Cardinal Rigali as he was about to board his flight to Rome Tuesday afternoon.

"We will take our position in mass. We say  some of the prayers together," he added.

But this Sunday's worship service is special, in fact it's a first in the 2,000 plus year history of the Catholic church where Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will become saints.

"I was living in Rome under both of them so I have very special reasons for wanting to be present," added Cardinal Rigali.

The popes were chosen for sainthood because of their exceptional faithfulness to Jesus Christ and Cardinal Rigali traveled side by side with John Paul II for years.

"He was a wonderful man intent on showing the world that he was interested in them. And his job was to preach the gospel," said Cardinal Rigali.

Here in East Tennessee the canonization has a much deeper meaning for two parishes. "Both will change names this Sunday Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II," said Bishop Stika.

Though no matter which church you attend or faith you practice Bishop Stika says God calls all of us to be holy.

"So I think the message of these two people is to say to the world you can be holy if you have a relationship with Jesus, if you have a relationship with the Lord," added Bishop Stika.

On Sunday here in Knoxville parishioners are planning on getting together to pray and celebrate this history making event.
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