It was the largest gathering of statesmen in human history. It was the first time an Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church had attended a papal funeral since the Great Schism of 1054. 159 foreign delegations were in attendance, as were 10 kings, 5 queens, 3 princes, 59 heads of state, 17 prime ministers, 10 presidents, 8 vice presidents, 12 foreign ministers, 24 ambassadors, general directors, secretary generals or presidents of international organizations, 23 delegations of Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox Churches, 8 Churches or ecclesial communities, international Christian organizations, and Jewish delegations.
More than 3 million pilgrims came together in Rome for the funeral of Blessed John Paul II on April 8, 2005.* And the people cried “Santo subito!”
Loosely translated, it means “saint him now!” The process for beatification however could not, as it was written then, begin for at least another 5 years. Then add the further study of his writings and letters, a massive volume of work to be sure, and the wait for Heaven's signature in the form of a supernatural sign or miracle through John Paul's intercession. Was this cry for canonization coming, as some believed, too fast? Was this pressure from the faithful crying out “santo subito” unwarranted?
It's often recalled when someone is in the midst of a struggle or crisis that “pressure makes diamonds.” Tremendous heat and tremendous pressure, applied to carbon deep in the heart of the earth will create exquisite, nearly unbreakable gemstones. God seems to have imprinted in so many physical realities and natural processes, lessons in matters of the human spirit; perfect parallels that can illuminate human life through a close examination of the biological. There are parables impregnated into the very fabric of the world if we allow ourselves to see them, and to hear them.
This April 27, 2014, is another Divine Mercy Sunday. It has only been 9 years since his passing; a novena of years in which the Universal Church has been waiting, praying, hoping. And now we can all cry out anew, “Santo subito!”The day has come, and he wears the crown of everlasting splendor, and its light shines from the communion of saints on us all!
"You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond…On the day that you were created they were prepared…you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created…"
- Ezekiel 28:13-14
* Statistics taken from CNA