This April Rome saw the convergence of a number of events that led to an enormous increase in the number of people here.

April 20th was Easter this year and in Italy the day after Easter is a holiday known as Pasquetta or little Easter.

April 21st was the birthday of Rome. This was the 2,767th year of its official founding.

April 25th is the Day of Liberation following the end of World War II for the Italians.

The big event that brought an additional one million visitors to Rome was the sanctification of two Popes on April 27th.

The Popes were John XIII (dead in 2005) and John Paul (dead in 1963). In order to be made a saint they have to have performed two miracles. I am not sure what their miracles were although there is one Italian woman who has been on TV talking about her cure of a brain tumor after talking to one of these Popes. I do know that the new Pope had to waive the requirement for two miracles as one of them only performed one. Sort of like Obama making up rules and waiving requirements for the Affordable Care Act whenever he wants to.

I do know that both of these Popes in their own way were responsible for decreased anti-Semitism in the Catholic Church. Pope John XIII ended the use of the term ‘perfidious’ (not able to be trusted) as an adjective in prayers to describe Jews, helped Jews escape Nazis in Turkey and Greece during WWII and removed the thought that Jews killed Christ from the Catholic mindset. John Paul was born in Poland near Krakow and had many Jewish friends growing up. He was the first Jew to visit a concentration camp and the first Pope to visit the main synagogue in Rome. OK.. I know they both had a horrible time dealing properly with sexual harassment in the Church.

At the train station they have erected a large bronze of Pope John Paul. This was done in 2011 when he was beatified.