Canonization Facts and Figures

A 99-year-old Filipino priest will be at St. Peter's Square on October 6th. 37 choirs will participate. Pilgrims are coming from 84 different countries. And more....

Canonizations by John Paul II

The canonization of Josemaria Escriva will be the 468th proclaimed by John Paul II. The most recent have been those of Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (Mexico City, July 31, 2002), Pedro de San Jose de Betancur (Guatemala City, July 30, 2002), and Padre Pio di Pietrelcina (Rome, July 16, 2002). From the establishment of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (initially known as “Rites”) in 1588 to the beginning of John Paul II’s pontificate, there were 296 saints canonized. During his pontificate, John Paul II has canonized 467 saints. 400 of these were canonized as part of several large groups of martyrs.


As of now, the Organizing Committee expects between 230,000 and 250,000 people to participate. Those taking part in the canonization of Josemaria Escriva are coming on their own or with groups organized by parishes, educational centers and other groups.


According to information given by the Committee, the groups come from 84 countries. A third are Italians, a third come from the rest of Europe, and the other third are from the rest of the world. The largest numbers are coming from Spain, France, the United States, Mexico, Germany, Brazil, Poland and the Philippines.

Young people and Volunteers

40% of the participants are young people, who will be staying in camping sites, gymnasiums, parishes and other venues in and near Rome. There will also be 1,850 volunteers (500 Romans) helping out around Rome to make the event come off in as orderly a manner as possible. The volunteers will help to welcome the participants at places where there are expected to be large numbers of people: Fiumicino and Ciampino airports, Termini railway station, the port of Civitavecchia, St. Peter’s Square, St. Eugene’s Basilica, etc. Their tasks include taking care of the sick, collaborating with the medical team, crowd control, helping with the cleaning and seating in St. Peter’s Square, assisting at information stands and attending the telephone (06 6816 4477).

The Elderly

At 99, Fr. Quirino Glorioso is believed to be the oldest person attending the canonization. He is a priest from the diocese of Laguna (Philippines). Fr. Quirino explains that his older parishioners, knowing about his devotion to the new saint, organized a collection to pay for his trip, “I wouldn’t have come to Rome and I am very happy to have been able to fulfill my dream of seeing the Pope and participating in the canonization of Josemaria Escriva.” He adds, “Josemaria is 100 years old and he is already a saint; I’m 99 years old and I’m still the way I am….” Among the clergy, there will also be an elderly Cardinal, Adam Kozlowiecki, a Jesuit, who was born in Poland in 1911 and who now lives in Zambia.

Teresa Funes, 82 years old, will travel 1,800 kilometers by bus to get to Rome from the rural town of Baza, Spain. “I really wanted to go to the canonization, but I didn’t say anything about it,” she said. Her children surprised her and organized a bus trip for her. “On the bus, I can follow the instructions that my doctors have given me for this trip: exercise my fingers and toes, take a break every hour and a half or two so as to go for a walk and so that the heart and legs continue to function well….”

Participants of other religions

In 1950, in answer to a petition by Josemaria Escriva, the Holy See approved the admittance of non-Catholics to Opus Dei as cooperators. From that moment on, many Christians from other confessions, as well as other religions, have collaborated with the Prelature’s activities. In St. Peter’s Square there well be a good representation of them. Among others there will be: Hinrich Bues, Protestant pastor, Alik Zorin, a Russian poet with a group of Russian Orthodox, Tapio Aho-Kallio, Religion teacher at a Helsinki school, and other Lutherans that have come with a group from Sweden and Norway, Gary Chu, a Chinese painter, and an Anglican couple from Nigeria (Mr. & Mrs. Ghenro and Funso Adegbola).

“Welcome Home”

This is a program to welcome those who cannot meet accommodation expenses. Some 950 Roman families will offer their houses to participants. Also, more than 12,000 participants will be staying at parishes and schools in Rome and the Lazio region.

Harambee 2002

"Harambee" is an expression in Swahili that means “All for one”. It is the name given to the solidarity fund promoted by the Organizing Committee of the canonization to finance educational projects in Africa through the contributions made by the October 6 participants and by anyone else who may wish to share in this initiative. Each person will be given an envelope for their donation (a minimum of €5).


1,200 voices from 37 choirs will sing during the liturgical ceremonies on October 6 and 7. Choirs from different parishes, associations and educational centers will join the Sistine Chapel Choir. They will be coming from Sweden, Guatemala, Canada, China, Spain, Philippines, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Poland, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Peru, Ireland and Portugal. Among the Italian choirs: Virgo Fidelis (the Carabinieri choir), Cantores in Laetitia (a Roman choir), Libera Università Campus Biomedico choir, Canticorum Jubilo and Concentus Larii (Como). There will also be some soloists such as María Eugenia Mendoza, a soprano from Mexico, Conceiçao Galante, a soprano from Portugal, and tenors Daniel Madigan (Australia), Ignacio Esteban (Spain) and Igor Glushkov (Kazakhstan).

Those who are sick

There will be 450 places in the first rows reserved for those who are in wheel chairs. Many people who are elderly, on advice given by the Organizing Committee, will bring folding chairs for the ceremonies.


The canonization and the Thanksgiving Mass on October 7 will be simultaneously translated into sign language for those who are deaf. The ceremony will also have simultaneous translation into French, English, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and German at different FM frequencies on Radio Vaticana. The participants have been advised to bring a transistor radio.


Numerous television stations will be offering live and delayed broadcasts of the canonization around the world.

The participants will be able to follow the ceremony on 9 large television screens that have been placed in the Piazza di Pio XII and Via della Conciliazione.

Like other events of this type, the ceremony will be transmitted live over the internet at EWTN's television coverage will be available on streaming video on their website, Further information is available at

Other activities

October 3: In the morning, the mortal remains of Blessed Josemaria were moved to St. Eugene’s Basilica (Viale delle Belle Arti, 10). They will remain there until October 10 to make it easier for more participants to pray before his mortal remains.

October 4: at 9:00 p.m., Presentation of “Project Harambee 2002”, at the Auditorium of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Via della Conciliazione, 4).

October 7: at 11:30 a.m., St. Peter’s Square, there will be an audience with the Holy Father for the participants, preceded by a Thanksgiving Mass that will be presided over by Bishop Javier Echevarría, Prelate of Opus Dei.

October 8-10: 16 churches and basilicas in Rome will celebrate 29 Thanksgiving Masses in 20 languages for different groups. Numerous cardinals and bishops will preside over these Masses.

October 10: at 6:30 p.m., Thanksgiving Mass at St. Eugene’s Basilica. Afterwards, the mortal remains of the saint will be returned to Our Lady of Peace, the Prelatic Church of Opus Dei (Viale Bruno Buozzi, 75).