Catholics in the Archdiocese of Edmonton will be joining those around the world in special prayers and celebrations around the canonization of two popes this weekend.

Pope John XXIII, best known for convoking the Second Vatican Council, and Pope John Paul II, the internationally respected figure whose travels took him three times to Canada, will be declared saints at a special ceremony of canonization at the Vatican on Sunday, April 27. This historic event begins at 1:30 a.m. MT and will be broadcast live on Salt+Light Television, which is currently offering a free preview.

The Archdiocese of Edmonton will mark the occasion with a Mass in honour of the new saints at St. Joseph's Basilica at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Archbishop Richard Smith will be the main celebrant, and all are welcome. A reception will follow in the O'Leary Hall downstairs.

Blessed John Paul II has a special place in the hearts of Edmontonians who met him during his 1984 visit here. But he is particularly beloved by his fellow Polish Catholics. Special celebrations in his honour are planned at Holy Rosary Polish Parish, 11485 - 106 Street, on Sunday.

The celebrations begin at 12 noon with placement of a floral display at the statue of John Paul II just outside the church. Mass in the Polish language will be celebrated at 12:15 p.m., and a reception will follow downstairs, where a special exhibit will be on display.

Blessed John XXIII  was Pope from 1958 to 1963; Blessed John Paul II served from 1978 until his death in 2005.