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Pope canonises five new Spanish saints

A massive crowd in the shape of a cross gathered around Pope John Paul II yesterday as he proclaimed five new saints and urged Spaniards to emulate them.

A congregation estimated at one million people spread out along four boulevards intersecting at Plaza de Colon, where a huge white altar was erected for the canonization Mass.

The ceremony honored two priests and three nuns, 20th century Spaniards honored for their work with the poor. Giant pictures of the five hung from an office building overlooking the plaza.

"We inscribe them in the book of the saints, and establish that in all the church they be devoutly honored among the saints," the pope said in Spanish.

Later, in his homily, John Paul said: "Beloved Catholics of Spain, let yourselves be inspired by these marvelous examples."

He urged Spain's Catholics to embrace the faith. "Christian and Catholic faith constitute the identity of the Spanish people," he said.

The canonisation was the centerpiece of the Holy Father's weekend visit, his fifth to Spain and first outside Italy in nine months.


Pope begins fifth trip to Spain (Ananova)
Pope, in Spain, Emphasizes Need for Peace (New York Times)
High Expectations as Spain Awaits Pope (Catholic World News)
Papers reflect Pope visit tensions (BBC)
Pope's health shows mysterious improvement (Reuters)
Pope urges Spain to guard Catholic roots (Reuters)
Theologians fret as Spanish fold awaits visit by pope (AP)
With voice stronger, pope ready for Spain (International Herald Tribune)
Spain Sees a Slip in the Practice of the Faith (Zenit)
Pope Expresses Sympathy for Victims of Turkish Quake (Zenit)
Pope's Health Shows Mysterious Improvement (Reuters)
Pope Makes Plea for Peace (AP)
Pontiff challenges youth (AP)
Pope Canonizes Five New Saints (AP)
Pope Urges Spain to Stay True to Catholic Roots (Reuters)
Pope Begins Whirlwind Visit to Madrid (AP)
Pope appeals for world peace (Ireland Online)

5 May 2003