Pope canonises new saints for work with poor
A massive crowd in the shape of a cross gathered around Pope John Paul II today as he proclaimed five new Spanish saints for their work with the poor, and brought a message of peace.
An estimated one million people attended the ceremony which honoured two priests and three nuns.
"We inscribe them in the book of the saints, and establish that in all the church they be devoutly honoured among the saints," the pope said.
The canonisation was the centrepiece of ailing John Paul's visit, his fifth to Spain and first outside Italy in nine months.
One of the priests, Pedro Poveda, was killed in 1936 during the opening days of the Spanish Civil War.
The church claims 4,184 clergy were killed during the war by the government, or Republican, side, which accused the church of backing fascist Gen. Francisco Franco.
The other four new saints are Angela de la Cruz, who founded the Sisters of the Company of the Cross; Genoveva Torres, who founded the Sisters of the Sacred Heart and of the Holy Angels; Maravillas de Jesus, who founded convents for the Order of Barefoot Carmelites, and Jose Maria Rubio, a Jesuit priest.
John Paul II has proclaimed more saints than any other pontiff, stressing the need for role models for today's Catholics.
The Pope also brought with him a message of peace to a country that was one of the staunchest allies of the U.S.-led war against Iraq, which he had opposed.
"My wish is for everyone to have the peace that only God, through Jesus Christ, can give," he said at the airport.
"Peace which is the fruit of justice, the truth, of love, of solidarity, the peace which people can benefit from when they follow the law of God, the peace which makes people feel like brothers."