3 Canonizations May Draw Huge Crowds

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 26, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Among the nine faithful whose canonization dates were announced today, are three figures who have inspired extraordinary interest worldwide.

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Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer (1902-1975), founder of the Opus Dei, will be canonized Oct. 6. His beatification a decade ago drew more than 200,000 people to St. Peter´s Square.

The beatification of Capuchin friar Pio da Pietrelcina (1887-1968) on May 2, 1999, drew 300,000 pilgrims — the most numerous in the history of beatifications held in Rome. His canonization on June 16 might beat all records.

The canonization of Indian Juan Diego, witness of the apparitions of the Virgin of Guadalupe in 1531, will take place in Mexico on July 31. It too could draw an immense number of faithful.

Mexican press sources say the celebration might take place in Ecatepec, a poor community located on the outskirts of Mexico City.

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