Valley Catholics react to historic canonization

FRESNO, Calif.

Pope Francis added two new popes into the sainthood who left behind very different legacies. Catholics in the Valley believe that was a deliberate decision aimed at bringing together a sometimes very divided faith.

Right at the beginning of Sunday evening mass, a priest at St. Paul Catholic Newman Center addressed the congregation and prayed for the newest saints in Catholicism.

"I am so excited, it's a great day to be a Catholic," said Lilliana Toste.

"It is just a big deal to all of us because it reinstates our faith as Catholics and it gives us a time to all be excited and come into church together," said Samantha Staley.

Experts believe Pope Francis choosing to honor two 20th century popes who left behind both progressive and conservative legacies will bridge a gap among the faithful.

"I have particular interest with John XXIII. He's been my favorite. He was the pope who was responsible for the Vatican council," said father John Supino.

Supino added the more liberal John XXIII brought the church into the modern era. The leaders gave the go-ahead for mass to be celebrated in local languages other than Latin.

Meanwhile, Supino believes the more conservative Pope John Paul II played a pivotal role in world affairs.

"John Paul II in my mind is recognized for the great work he did during communism and helping the countries behind the Iron Curtain come out to be free," added Supino.

Experts believe Pope Francis, who has already made some unexpected decisions during his short time leading the Vatican, is reinvigorating worshippers worldwide.

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