A prayer garden at Holy Rosary R.C. Church in South Beach was rededicated to Pope John XXIII on the very day, Divine Mercy Sunday, when he and Pope John Paul II were canonized as saints by Pope Francis with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in attendance.


The Rev. Michael Martine, pastor of Holy Rosary, blessed the St. John XXIII Prayer Garden after an afternoon mass of thanksgiving attended by about 300 people that celebrated the legacies of both pontiffs. Rev. Martine reflected on his three meetings with Pope John Paul II and a mass that the pastors said at the tomb of John XXIII.

Rev. Martine noted that his parishioners are devoted to both saints. The parish has a wealth of congregants of Italian and Polish heritages and masses are said in their native tongues each Sunday.

"It was a dual celebration for the whole parish community," Rev. Martine said, adding that the prayer garden is used not only by parishioners, but serves a place for reflection and meditation for the South Beach community.

Religious statues in the garden include likenesses of Pope John, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Blessed Mother, St. Jude, St. Therese, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Julie Billiart, the foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, the religious congregation serving the parish. The garden also has memorial benches. Commemorative prayer cards of the new saints were distributed.


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