Vatican to beatify Pope John Paul II May 1

Friday, January 14, 2011

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican said Friday Pope John Paul II is to be beatified - the penultimate step in the process to make the late pontiff a saint - at a ceremony in Rome May 1.

Pope Benedict XVI approved, through a decree, a miracle attributed to John Paul, the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints said in a radio interview.

Cardinal Angelo Amato said the miracle involves a French nun, Marie Simon Pierre Normand, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease but was then cured thanks to the intercession of John Paul.

The miracle occurred just a few months after John Paul’s death, April 2, 2005, Amato told Vatican Radio.

“This decree opens the way for his beatification, which will take place in Rome next May 1, the first Sunday after Easter,” Amato said.

Mourners at John Paul’s funeral in Saint Peter’s Square shouted “Santo subito!” (Saint Immediately) - a homage to the popular Polish-born pontiff whose 26-year reign remains the second-longest in history.

Following his election as pope later that month, Benedict put John Paul on the fast track to sainthood by waiving church rules that normally impose a five-year waiting period after a candidate’s death before the procedure that leads to sainthood can start.

But before a person is beatified and given the title “blessed”, by the pope, the Vatican’s saint-making department must obtain proof that a miracle has taken place with the candidate’s intercession.

On Friday the Vatican said in a statement that medical experts, after carefully examining the case involving Normand had submitted their findings to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in October 2010. The Congregation subsequently concluded that the nun’s healing was “scientifically inexplicable”.

“An act of God … following the intercession of the … John Paul II invoked by the healed person (Normand) and many other faithful,” the Vatican statement said.

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative nervous system disorder which afflicted John Paul himself.

The beatification ceremony for John Paul II is likely to be the largest public gathering in Rome since the events surrounding his death in April 2005 when according to some estimates, four million people arrived to pay their last respects.

Filed under: Religion

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