“I am thrilled by the fact that this will be a renewal of the parish,” said Father Cletus Imo, Parish Administrator. “I look forward to touching the many places that will connect me with the people who have led the church before.”
The canonization ceremony will be the highlight of a 10-day pilgrimage for the group from Blessed John XXIII parish. They will leave on Easter Monday and return April 30. During their pilgrimage, they will visit several basilicas and other notable places in and around Rome.
“The parish has some concerns, and I’ll be taking them with me in hopes that through their [Bl. John XXIII & Bl. John Paul II] intercession, we will have the added grace to move ahead,” Fr. Imo said.
In all, Fr. Imo will be taking a group of 30 people to the canonization. The group includes 22 people from Blessed John XXIII and others from Sacred Heart Parish, Rancho Cucamonga; Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Montclair and a pair from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
“They will be honorary members of Blessed John [XXIII],” Father Imo said. “After all, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.”
The entire parish community is invited to spiritually go on the pilgrimage by participating in the Divine Mercy novena locally. The parish will be hosting one day of the novena at its Rialto site on April 22.
The parish, to be renamed St. John XXIII, will celebrate the Canonization of its namesake with a Mass and reception in May.
“I pray that this may be a moment of grace for us,” Father Imo said. “I hope that the Lord will bless us.”
As many as five million people will travel to Rome for the Canonization. Pilgrims will be able to watch from the area that comprises St. Peter’s Square, including the Piazza Pio XII and the Via della Conciliazione – the road that runs from the Castel Sant ’Angelo to St. Peter’s.
Screens will also be installed in the big squares of Rome’s downtown for those who are not able to make it to St. Peter’s Square. Local parishes will be open from 9 to midnight the night before so that pilgrims will be able to keep vigil.