By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Archdiocese will send a contingent of pilgrims to Rome at the end of next month to share in the canonization of two new saints, one of whom had visited Philadelphia just 35 years ago.

Father Dennis Gill of the Archdiocese Office for Divine Worship will lead the pilgrimage at the end of April for the elevation to sainthood of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII.

“It’s the canonization of two popes whose lifetimes were so close together and are in the living memory of so many people. That makes it very historic.”

Gill recalls he was still in the seminary at the time of Pope John Paul II’s 1979 visit to Philadelphia.

He says so many people have vivid memories of John Paul II’s brief time here, and the great love he expressed for the people of Philadelphia.

Gill says the pilgrimage is recognition of that affection.

Spaces are still available on the pilgrimage.

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