Vatican Double Pope Sainthoods: A Massive Online Social Media Celebration

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | April 1, 2014 12:45 PM EST

It is not really breaking tradition, but more of like keeping up with the times. Vatican will be holding a special ceremony for the first ever double canonisation of two former popes on April 27, and it has enlisted the help of social media platforms to drumbeat the event.

Vatican wanted the global populace to witness and share as the historic event of canonising Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII unfold. This will beamed not only through the traditional black and shiny idiot box called television, but also through a multi-faceted "digital platform."

Using the 2popesaints theme, the Vatican has set up a number of social media pages and accounts:

  • Web site - www.2papisanti.org; available in five languages
  • Twitter - @2popesaints
  • Instagram - #2popesaints

The event has several special pages that use the 2popesaints theme in Facebook, while on YouTube, it would be at 2popesaints.

The Hollywood Reporter, meantime, said the ceremony where Pope Francis will formally lift Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII to sainthood will be transmitted live in 3D and in Ultra HD from St. Peter's Square, Vatican City.

Centro Televisivo Vaticano (Vatican Television Center; CTV) has partnered with Sony to bring the plan into reality.

Fr Federico Lombardi, spokesman of the Holy See, did not give specific figures on the number of pilgrims who will show up on April 27. Italian media, however, forecast it could be as high as seven million people.

A man tries to get connected to the youtube web site with his tablet at a cafe in Istanbul March 27, 2014. The Turkish telecoms authority TIB said on Thursday it had taken an
A man tries to get connected to the youtube web site with his tablet at a cafe in Istanbul March 27, 2014. The Turkish telecoms authority TIB said on Thursday it had taken an "administrative measure" against YouTube, a week after it blocked access to microblogging site Twitter. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

"No tickets will be sold. Don't ask the prefecture as there will be none," Fr Lombardi said.

Vatican officials think the bulk of the pilgrims gracing the event at St. Peter's Square will come from Poland where Pope John Paul II hailed.

Most hotels within Rome are already fully booked on the date. The Irish Times quoting travel Web site Trivago said the price of an average hotel room for the night of April 26th had jumped by as much as 63 per cent from 2013.

Pope John Paul II served as supreme pontiff from 1978 to 2005, while Pope John XXII was the head of the Holy See from 1958 through 1963.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is expected to attend the event. It is not certain if he will be holding a special part in the canonisation ceremony where Pope Francis leads.

The sun rises behind the entrance sign to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park before the company's IPO launch, May 18, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach
The sun rises behind the entrance sign to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park before the company's IPO launch, May 18, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

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A man tries to get connected to the youtube web site with his tablet at a cafe in Istanbul March 27, 2014. The Turkish telecoms authority TIB said on Thursday it had taken an "administrative measure" against YouTube, a week after it blocked access to microblogging site Twitter. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
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