Local Church Leaders Back From Rome, After Canonization

Three Catholic leaders from Lubbock were at the Vatican Sunday to witness the canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII. Father Bill Anton, of Christ the King Cathedral, recalls the spiritual event.
by Victoria Price

LUBBOCK, TX -- Chalk
it up to Divine Intervention...Father Bill Anton of Christ the Church Cathedral didn't anticipate spending last Sunday in Rome. Yet, he did, and in the company of two other Lubbock church leaders.

"I wasn't planning on going, but some of the ladies in my office kind of planted the idea in my head," he explains. "'Your birthday is on the 28th, wouldn't it be cool if you had your 50th birthday in Rome?'"

But Father Bill celebrated so much more than 50 years of life. He got to witness as the Church canonized John Paul II and John XXIII, elevating both to sainthood.

"There were people there who had camped out all night to get into St. Peter's Square. A few got in, but most were lining the streets," he recalls. "I understand there were 800,000 people there, but it seemed like a couple of million, from where I was."

Father Bill experienced more than just history while in Rome. He says his life with the Church came full circle last Sunday in St. Peter's Square.

"If it weren't for John Paul, I probably wouldn't be a priest," Anton admits. "He became Pope when I was 14 years old, so personally he was very inspiring to me, and definitely instrumental in my journey to becoming a priest."

Accompanying Father Bill on his trip were Bishop Placido Rodriguez, and Monsignor Gene Driscoll.

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