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Pope in the cinema in Austria

Cinemas across Austria are opening their doors for free to people who want to watch when Pope Francis will declare his two predecessors saints at a single ceremony on April 27.

The ceremony is in recognition of the fact that Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II have widespread reputations for holiness and that years of studying their lives and actions have proven their exceptional virtue.

Blessed John Paul, known as a globetrotter who made 104 trips outside Italy, served as pope from 1978 to 2005 and was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1, 2011. Blessed John XXIII, known particularly for convoking the Second Vatican Council, was pope from 1958 to 1963; Blessed John Paul beatified him in 2000.

Asked by reporters if retired Pope Benedict would participate in the canonisation ceremony, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters it was possible, but given the retired pope's preference for staying out of the public eye, he could not say for sure.

The choice of April 27, which will be Divine Mercy Sunday in 2014, was not a complete surprise. Pope Francis said he had been considering Dec. 8, but the possibility of icy roads could make it difficult for Polish pilgrims who would travel by bus to Rome for the ceremony.

Not only will Austrian cinemagoers be able to watch the ceremony live, but they will also be able to enter for free. But there will be no subtitles.

Christof Papousek who was the spokesman for the Cineplexx International cinema chain, it was an attempt to offer something to people who rarely visit the cinema.

He said: "We are hoping in particular that youth groups from the parishes will be particularly interested."

The screen is expected to last three hours with tickets available on a first-come, first serve the principal. There will be no fixed seating and it will be possible to view it in HD, with the aim of allowing people to have the feeling that they are really they are in St Peter's Square for the event. The decision not to have subtitles was in order to increase the authenticity and really make people believe that they are they are.

The ceremony will be screened at both of the Vienna Cineplexx branches and also at the cinemas in Innsbruck, Graz, Hohenems, Salzburg City, Linz, Wiener Neustadt and Villach.

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