Three Erie priests, one now working at the Vatican, had the privilege of attending the canonization ceremony in Rome on Sunday. Father Larry Richards, Father Ed Lohse and Father Nick Rouch watched as Pope Francis presided over the first ever canonization of two pontiffs. He described Saint John the 23rd as "the pope of openness to the spirit" and Saint John Paul the Second as "the pope of the family."
The ceremony was made even more historic by the presence of retired Pope Benedict the 16th. The Erie priests not only witnessed the historic events, they are celebrating their own history. Each one is marking his own 25th anniversary in the priesthood. The trio has known each other since their preparation for the priesthood in seminary.
Father Larry and Father Nick serve the Roman Catholic church in Erie. Father Lohse is now working at the Vatican. The Vatican estimates that 800-thousand people witnessed the historic event in Rome.