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Throngs of pilgrims fill St. Peter's Square for historic day of 4 popes and 2 new saints

  • Italy Vatican Canonizations-1.jpg

    Polish pilgrims hold a flag portraying Pope John Paul II during a vigil prayer in the Sant'Agnese in Agone church in piazza Navona, Rome, Saturday, April 26, 2014, on the eve of the canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII scheduled at the Vatican. Italy's interior minister says as many as 1 million people could be drawn to Rome for the extraordinary occurrence of two pontiffs being canonized at a Mass on Sunday where two living popes will be present. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca) (The Associated Press)

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    Polish pilgrims dance outside of Sant'Agnese in Agone church in piazza Navona, Rome, Saturday, April 26, 2014, prior to attend a vigil prayer on the eve of the canonizations of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII scheduled at the Vatican. Italy's interior minister says as many as 1 million people could be drawn to Rome for the extraordinary occurrence of two pontiffs being canonized at a Mass on Sunday where two living popes will be present. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca) (The Associated Press)

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    Polish pilgrims gather outside the Sant'Agnese in Agone church in piazza Navona, Rome, Saturday, April 26, 2014, to attend a vigil prayer on the eve of the canonizations of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII scheduled at the Vatican. Italy's interior minister says as many as 1 million people could be drawn to Rome for the extraordinary occurrence of two pontiffs being canonized at a Mass on Sunday where two living popes will be present. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca) (The Associated Press)

  • 7c8cf9e05a0d7c10520f6a7067004f6d.jpg

    Polish pilgrims hold flags bearing pictures of Pope John Paul II during a vigil prayer in the Sant'Agnese in Agone church in piazza Navona, Rome, Saturday, April 26, 2014, on the eve of the canonizations of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII scheduled at the Vatican. Italy's interior minister says as many as 1 million people could be drawn to Rome for the extraordinary occurrence of two pontiffs being canonized at a Mass on Sunday where two living popes will be present. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca) (The Associated Press)

  • Italy Vatican Canonizations-5.jpg

    A pilgrim holds a picture of Pope John Paul II during a vigil prayer inside Sant'Agnese in Agone church in piazza Navona, Rome, Saturday, April 26, 2014, on the eve of the canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII scheduled at the Vatican. Italy's interior minister says as many as 1 million people could be drawn to Rome for the extraordinary occurrence of two pontiffs being canonized at a Mass on Sunday where two living popes will be present. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca) (The Associated Press)

Tens of thousands of people have filled St. Peter's Square for a historic day of four popes, with Popes Francis and Benedict XVI honoring John XXIII and John Paul II by declaring them saints in the first ever canonization of two pontiffs.

Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul's beloved homeland were among the first to press into the square well before sunrise Sunday, held back by human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order.

Most of those who arrived first had camped out overnight on air mattresses and sleeping pads along the side streets leading to the square. Others hadn't slept at all and took part in the all-night prayer vigils hosted at a dozen churches in downtown Rome.