Irving monsignor proud to say he met one of two popes selected for sainthood

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by JOBIN PANICKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @jobinpnews

WFAA

Posted on July 5, 2013 at 10:58 PM

IRVING -- Monsignor Michael Olson of Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving remembers his moment with Pope John Paul II like it was yesterday.

"You don't meet a pope every day," the monsignor said, laughing.

Olson said his meeting came in Rome. His limited Polish helped get the pope's attention along the aisle. It is a conversation he will forever cherish.

"I asked him to pray for me," he said.

The monsignor was excited to hear that both Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII will be canonized, or granted sainthood.

"Both of these men lived lives of holiness," Olson said. "We saw them in the public eye, and we have personal memories."

He said both were known for opening the papacy to the contemporary world and for healing divisions between Christians and Jews.

Pope John XXIII served five years and is renowned for calling the Second Vatican Council which, in one way, changed the Catholic liturgy.

Pope John Paul II is the first to come to Texas. Thousands came to San Antonio to greet him on September 13, 1987.

"For me, he was a saint and I could say he has already performed many miracles for me," said Eva Ayala, who saw the pope in Mexico in the 90's.

The pope has also been highly scrutinized for his handling of the sexual abuse scandal that's plagued the Catholic Church.

Canonization is decided by a council, but criteria must also be satisfied. A saint must live a life of virtue, but there must also be miracles attributed to them through intercession.

"All of this is a matter of gift of faith," Olson said. "For those without faith, no explanation will suffice. For those with faith, no explanation is necessary."

It is still unclear if a date has been set for the canonization ceremony.

E-mail jpanicker@wfaa.com

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