Popes John Paul II (1920-2005) and John XXIII (1881-1963) will be canonized on April 27, Pope Francis announced Monday.

The date for their canonizations was selected by the pontiff during the council - or consistory - with the cardinals and will be the first Sunday after Easter.

The road to sainthood has several stages: In the most traditional cases, first it is necessary to be designated as Venerable, the title that is given after death to those who are recognized as having lived "the virtues in a heroic manner."

After that, it is necessary for an investigation to be performed to determine whether a miracle can be attributed to the person in question, and if so they can be beatified. If a second miracle can be ascribed to the person, they may be canonized, although the pope may omit one of these steps, as is the case with John XXIII.

The canonization of the Polish-born pope has occurred in record time, but all the steps set forth by the Church have been followed.

The rise of the very popular John Paul II, whose pontificate lasted 27 years, to this level came almost by popular acclamation.

With regard to John XXIII, who became pope in 1958, Pope Francis on July 5 made the surprise announcement that - in an unprecedented decision - he will proclaim the sainthood of the former pontiff without waiting for an otherwise-required second miracle to be verified.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said that Francis has no doubts regarding the sainthood of John XXIII, and this decision is said to have been based on that beloved pontiff's merits in convening the Second Vatican Council, which resulted in huge modernizing changes in the Church.

"We know all the virtues and the personality of Pope Roncalli; it is not necessary to explain the motives for his sainthood," said Lombardi, alluding to John XXIII by his name before he became pope - Angelo Roncalli.

The sanctification of John Paul II and John XXIII comes on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. EFE