Bishop Stika, Cardinal Rigali taking part in papal canonization pilgrimage

Bishop Richard F. Stika and Cardinal Justin Rigali are encouraging Diocese of Knoxville parishioners interested in witnessing the canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII to join a pilgrimage to Rome next spring and be a part of this historic event.

Bishop Stika and Cardinal Rigali will take part in the nine-day pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi, Italy.

Recognizing that Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II have impeccable reputations for holiness and that years of studying their lives and actions have proven their exceptional virtue, Pope Francis announced Sept. 30 that he would declare his two predecessors saints at a ceremony on April 27, which is Divine Mercy Sunday. Blessed John Paul served as pope from 1978 to 2005 and was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1, 2011. Blessed John XXIII, who was pope from 1958 to 1963, was beatified by Blessed John Paul in 2000.

The pilgrimage, sponsored by Select International Tours & Cruises, is April 21-29 and will cost $3,795 per person, including roundtrip transportation from Knoxville on US Air.

During the pilgrimage, Bishop Stika and Cardinal Rigali will celebrate Mass in Rome for those on the pilgrimage.

Susan Prendergast of Select International said space on the trip is “extremely limited,” so registration now is important. For more information about the pilgrimage, contact her at 800-842-4842 or e-mail her at Also for information about Select International or the pilgrimage, go to the company’s website, Space is limited, so early registration is urged.