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Reflections on Pope John Paul II’s announced beatification

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In the fastest process to date, Pope Benedict XVI set May 1, 2011 as the date for Pope John Paul II's beatification — a key step in the process of being canonized a Catholic saint.

The Venerable John Paul’s beatification was announced after Pope Benedict declared a French nun's recovery from Parkinson's disease a miracle attributed to his intercession. John Paul himself suffered for years from Parkinson’s and died in his Vatican apartment on April 2, 2005 at the age of 84. A second miracle is needed to be canonized a saint.

Benedict put John Paul on the fast track to possible sainthood just weeks after he died, waiving the typical five-year waiting period before the process could begin.

Nevertheless, he insisted from the beginning that the investigation into John Paul’s life be thorough to avoid any doubts about his virtues.

Never before has a Pope beatified his immediate predecessor. Pope Benedict will preside at the May 1 ceremony. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims are expected to Rome for this precedent-setting Mass.

Vatican officials noted that beatification isn’t a “score card” on how John Paul administered the Church, but rather recognition that he led a saintly life.

As Chairman of the Pro-Life Committee of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said he takes great joy in the announcement of Pope John Paul II’s upcoming beatification.

Cardinal DiNardo called the late Pontiff the “Pope of the Gospel of Life” in his ‘Shepherd’s’ message in the Texas Catholic Herald, January 25, 2011. “He never tired of proclaiming the inestimable dignity and worth of the human person, of every human being. Wherever he traveled, he always made sure to include an important statement in a talk or a point in a homily about the beauty of the human person and the terrible threats attacking human life today.”

Once John Paul is beatified he will be given the title “blessed.” The Vatican said John Paul’s entombed remains, currently in the grotto underneath St. Peter’s Basilica, will be moved upstairs to a chapel just inside a main entrance for easier access by the public.

Enjoy the special video tribute to John Paul II

Look for more information here on Pope John Paul’s beatification in the coming weeks as May 1st approaches.

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