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Santo Subito! Venerable John Paul II's Beatification

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By Deacon Keith Fournier

Pope John Paul II Passes to the father

On April 2, 2005 at 9:37 p.m. Blessed Pope John Paul II died. In April of 2009 his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, told Pilgrims gathered in Rome "With you, I pray for the gift of beatification". That prayer has been answered. Friday, January 14, 2011 the Holy See released the "Decree for the Beatification of the Servant of God John Paul II" which can be read in its entirety here. http://www.radiovaticana.org/EN1/Articolo.asp?c=454138

A Prophetic Pronouncement

Sunday, January 16, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI, after praying the Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI announced "On 1 May I will have the joy of proclaiming the Blessed Pope John Paul II, my predecessor, as a blessed. The date chosen is very significant because it will, in fact, be the second Sunday of Easter which he himself dedicated to Divine Mercy and on the eve of which his earthly life came to an end…Those who knew him, those who respected and loved him cannot but share in the Church's joy at this event."

Blessed John Paul II

In the last ten centuries of Church history no Pope has beatified his predecessor. From the beginning of Pope Benedict's pontificate it has been clear that he has longed for this day. On April 3, 2011 at another Angelus, he told the faithful who had gathered "I remember him in prayer with affection as I think of you all. While we journey through Lent and prepare for the feast of Easter, we come with joy to the day when we will also venerate as a saint this great pope and witness of Christ, and rely even more on his intercession."

On April 9, 2011 Pope Benedict XVI attended a documentary film entitled "The Great Pope: Pilgrim in White", directed by the Polish director Jaropslaw Szmidt on the pontificate of Blessed Pope John Paul II. he noted, "This film ... sets out to faithfully render both the personality of the Pope and his tireless work throughout his long pontificate" and spoke of the "two pillars" of the life and ministry of his predecessor in office, "prayer and missionary zeal. John Paul II was a great scholar and great apostle of Christ. God chose him for the Chair of Peter and granted him long life in order that he might accompany the Church into the third millennium. By his example, he guided us all in this pilgrimage and continues to do so from above".

The choice of the Feast of Divine Mercy, May 1, 2011 for this beautification is intentionally chosen. Blessed Pope John Paul II had a deep devotion to his fellow Pole Sr. Faustina Kowalska and to the Divine Mercy devotion identified with her. In August 2002, in Lagiewniki, Poland where Sr. Faustina lived and died, John Paul II entrusted the entire world "to Divine Mercy, to the unlimited trust in God the Merciful."

The Decree of Beatification notes, "Since the beginning of his pontificate, in 1978, John Paul II often spoke in his homilies of the mercy of God. This became the theme of his second encyclical, Dives in Misericordia, in 1980. He was aware that modern culture and its language do not have a place for mercy, treating it as something strange; they try to inscribe everything in the categories of justice and law. But this does not suffice, for it is not what the reality of God is about."

Path to Sainthood

There is no doubt that we had a saint in our midst. A man so filled with Jesus Christ that, like the Apostle Paul, he no longer lived but "Christ lived in him." (Galatians 2) The sentiment of the faithful expressed on the day on which his body was processed through the streets of Rome, "Santo Subito" has echoed as the Church has discerned the cause of his canonization. Now, he will be raised to the Altar on the Feast of Divine Mercy and the faithful will call him "Blessed John Paul II."

Pope John Paul's first miracle occurred in 2006.

Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, a French nun and member of the Congregation of Little Sisters of Catholic Maternity Wards was confined to her bed by Parkinson's disease. It was reported that she was completely cured of the disease after members of her community prayed for the intercession of Pope John Paul II.

In May of 2008 she was once again continuing her good works at a maternity ward again. "I was sick and now I am cured," she told reporter Gerry Shaw.

Pope John Paul's second miracle occurred in 2011. A Costa Rican woman, Floribeth Mora, who was suffering from a terminal brain aneurism, was healed with no known natural (medical) cause, on the date of John Paul's beatification.

A panel of expert theologians from the Vatican examined the evidence and determined that it was directly attributable to the intercession of John Paul.

Two other potential miracles are thought to have occurred due to the direct intercession of Pope John Paul II.

On the fourth anniversary of the Pope's death, a Polish boy who had suffered from kidney cancer and was completely unable to walk, was visiting the tomb with his parents. Upon leaving St. Peter's Basilica he told his parents he wanted to walk, and then began to walk normally.

The other miracle attributed to Pope John Paul is the miraculous curing of Marco Fidel Rojas, the mayor of Huila, Colombia who was suffering from Parkinsons. His doctor has authenticated his cure.

Pope Francis confirmed his approval of the canonization of John Paul II on July 4, 2013, formally recognizing the second miracle attributed to his intercession. He was canonized alongside the Blessed John XXIII on April 27, 2014, Divine Mercy Sunday, in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican in Rome. The Canonization Mass was celebrated by Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

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Life of Saint Pope John Paul II

1920
1930
1940
1950
1960
1970
1980
1990
2000
1920's Early Years
  • Born in Wadowice (Kraków), Poland.
    Born in Wadowice (Kraków), Poland.
    Born in Wadowice (Kraków), Poland.
    May 18, 1920
  • Baptized by the military chaplain P. Franciszek Zak.
    Baptized into Christ and His Church by a Chaplain in the Polish Army, Fr. Franciszek Zak.
    Baptized by the military chaplain P. Franciszek Zak.
    June 20, 1920
  • Attended the elementary school for boys
    Attended the elementary school for boys, and then the prep years of secondary school "Marcin Wadowita" in which during all his classes he achieved the top grades.
    Attended the elementary school for boys
    September 15, 1926
  • His mother dies.
    Death of his mother due to heart and kidney problems.
    His mother dies.
    April 13, 1929
  • First Holy Communion
    First Holy Communion
    First Holy Communion
    October 1, 1929
1930's Early Years
  • Admitted to the State Secondary School for boys, "Marcin Wadowita".
    Admitted to the State Secondary School for boys, "Marcin Wadowita".
    Admitted to the State Secondary School for boys, "Marcin Wadowita".
    June 1, 1930
  • His brother Edmund dies.
    Loss of his childhood occurs with the death of his brother to scarlet fever.
    His brother Edmund dies.
    December 5, 1932
  • Participates in military training exercises at Hermanice.
    Participates in military training exercises at Hermanice.
    Participates in military training exercises at Hermanice.
    September 1, 1935
  • Admitted into the Society of Mary.
    Admitted into the Society of Mary.
    Admitted into the Society of Mary.
    December 14, 1935
  • Receives the Sacrament of Confirmation.
    Receives the Sacrament of Confirmation.
    Receives the Sacrament of Confirmation.
    May 1, 1938
  • Enrolls in the Faculty of Philosophy at Jagellonian University, Kraków.
    Enrolls in the Faculty of Philosophy (course of Polish Philosophy) at Jagellonian University, Kraków.
    Enrolls in the Faculty of Philosophy at Jagellonian University, Kraków.
    June 22, 1938
  • He and his father move to Kraków
    Young Karol and his father move to Kraków (Via Tyniecka 10).
    He and his father move to Kraków
    August 1, 1938
  • University military training
    University military training camp at Ozomla, near Sadowa Wiszna for Polish and Ukraine students.
    University military training
    July 1, 1939
  • Second World War begins.
    Second World War begins.
    Second World War begins.
    September 1, 1939
  • Registers for the second year university courses in Literature and Philosophy.
    Registers for the second year university courses in Literature and Philosophy.
    Registers for the second year university courses in Literature and Philosophy.
    November 2, 1939
1940's Priesthood
  • His father dies.
    His father dies.
    His father dies.
    February 18, 1941
  • Escaped Gestapo round by hiding in his uncle's basement.
    Escaped Gestapo round by hiding in his uncle's basement.
    Escaped Gestapo round by hiding in his uncle's basement.
    August 6, 1944
  • The Russian Armed Forces free Kraków from Nazi occupation.
    The Russian Armed Forces free Kraków from Nazi occupation.
    The Russian Armed Forces free Kraków from Nazi occupation.
    January 18, 1945
  • Ordained a priest.
    Ordained a priest. As on the preceding occasions, he received Holy Orders from the hands of Archbishop Metropolitan Adam Sapieha in his private chapel.
    Ordained a priest.
    November 1, 1946
  • Celebrates his first Mass in the crypt of St. Leonard at Wavel.
    Celebrates his first Mass in the crypt of St. Leonard at Wavel.
    Celebrates his first Mass in the crypt of St. Leonard at Wavel.
    November 2, 1946
  • Leaves Poland to begin studies in Rome.
    Leaves Poland to begin studies in Rome.
    Leaves Poland to begin studies in Rome.
    November 15, 1946
  • Earns a master's degree in theology at the Jagellonian University in Kraków
    Earns a master's degree in theology at the Jagellonian University in Kraków (1942-1946). Earns a doctorate in sacred theology in the Faculty of Theology at the Jagellonian University with highest marks.
    Earns a master's degree in theology at the Jagellonian University in Kraków
    December 16, 1948
  • Recalled to Kraków to be assistant pastor at St. Florian's.
    Recalled to Kraków to be assistant pastor at St. Florian's.
    Recalled to Kraków to be assistant pastor at St. Florian's.
    August 5, 1949
1950's Priesthood
  • Archbishop Baziak puts him on leave
    Archbishop Baziak puts him on leave (until 1953) to complete his qualifying exams for a university position. Up until now he served as a chaplain to the university students (in St. Florian's) and for health workers.
    Archbishop Baziak puts him on leave
    September 1, 1951
  • Gives course in Catholic social ethics for Jagellonian University students
    Gives a course in Catholic social ethics for the students of fourth year theology at the Jagellonian University.
    Gives course in Catholic social ethics for Jagellonian University students
    October 1, 1953
  • Completes qualifying exams with thesis on the "ethical system of Max Scheler".
    Completes his qualifying exams by presenting his thesis on the "ethical system of Max Scheler".
    Completes qualifying exams with thesis on the "ethical system of Max Scheler".
    December 1, 1953
  • Faculty of Theology at the Jagellonian University abolished,
    Faculty of Theology at the Jagellonian University abolished, this faculty is then organized at the Seminary of Kraków where he continues his studies. Catholic University of Lublin offers him a non-tenured professorship which he accepts.
    Faculty of Theology at the Jagellonian University abolished,
    January 1, 1954
  • Appointed to the Chair of Ethics at the Catholic University of Lublin.
    Appointed to the Chair of Ethics at the Catholic University of Lublin.
    Appointed to the Chair of Ethics at the Catholic University of Lublin.
    December 1, 1956
  • The Central Qualifying Committee approves his appointment as free docent.
    The Central Qualifying Committee approves his appointment as free docent.
    The Central Qualifying Committee approves his appointment as free docent.
    November 15, 1957
  • Appointed Auxiliary Bishop to Archbishop Baziak of Kraków.
    Appointed Auxiliary Bishop to Archbishop Mons. Eugeniusz Baziak of Kraków.
    Appointed Auxiliary Bishop to Archbishop Baziak of Kraków.
    July 4, 1958
  • Ordained Bishop in the Cathedral of Wavel.
    Ordained Bishop in the Cathedral of Wavel.
    Ordained Bishop in the Cathedral of Wavel.
    September 28, 1958
1960's Priesthood
  • After the death of Archbishop Baziak, named Vicar Capitular.
    After the death of Archbishop Baziak, named Vicar Capitular.
    After the death of Archbishop Baziak, named Vicar Capitular.
    July 16, 1962
  • Participates in the II Session of the Second Vatican Council.
    Participates in the II Session of the Second Vatican Council.
    Participates in the II Session of the Second Vatican Council.
    October 6, 1963
  • Designated Metropolitan Bishop of Kraków.
    Designated Metropolitan Bishop of Kraków.
    Designated Metropolitan Bishop of Kraków.
    December 30, 1963
  • Archbishop Wojtyla is made President of Apostolate of the Laity
    Episcopal Commission for the Apostolate of the Laity is established; Archbishop Wojtyla is made President.
    Archbishop Wojtyla is made President of Apostolate of the Laity
    December 29, 1966
  • Karol Wojtyla named Cardinal elect
    Paul VI announces the next Consistory. Among the names of the new Cardinals elect is that of Karol Wojtyla.
    Karol Wojtyla named Cardinal elect
    May 29, 1967
  • Consecrated Cardinal in the Sistine Chapel, by Pope Paul VI
    Consecrated Cardinal in the Sistine Chapel, by Pope Paul VI - titular S. Cesareo in Palatio.
    Consecrated Cardinal in the Sistine Chapel, by Pope Paul VI
    June 26, 1967
  • Takes possession of the titular Church, S. Cesareo in Palatio, Rome.
    Takes possession of the titular Church, S. Cesareo in Palatio, Rome.
    Takes possession of the titular Church, S. Cesareo in Palatio, Rome.
    February 18, 1968
  • Vice-President of the Episcopal Conference
    Approval of the statutes of the Episcopal Conference; Cardinal Wojtyla is Vice-President of the Conference.
    Vice-President of the Episcopal Conference
    March 15, 1969
  • The Polish Theological Society publishes "The Acting Person"
    The Polish Theological Society (PTT) of Krakow publishes "The Acting Person" (Osoba i cyzn).
    The Polish Theological Society publishes "The Acting Person"
    December 1, 1969
1970's Priesthood / Pope
  • Is elected to the Council of the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.
    Is elected to the Council of the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.
    Is elected to the Council of the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.
    October 5, 1971
  • Card. Wojtyla presides over the Polish delegation
    Card. Wojtyla presides over the Polish delegation at the international conference in Rome for the preparations of the new Apostolic Constitution for Ecclesiastical Studies.
    Card. Wojtyla presides over the Polish delegation
    November 22, 1976
  • Receives a doctorate "honoris causa" from Johannes Guttenberg University
    Receives a doctorate "honoris causa" from Johannes Guttenberg University, Mainz.
    Receives a doctorate "honoris causa" from Johannes Guttenberg University
    June 23, 1977
  • Present at the funeral of Paul VI.
    Present at the funeral of Paul VI.
    Present at the funeral of Paul VI.
    August 11, 1978
  • John Paul I is elected Pope
    John Paul I (Albino Luciani) is elected Pope.
    John Paul I is elected Pope
    August 26, 1978
  • Funeral of Pope John Paul I
    Leaves for the funeral of Pope John Paul I.
    Funeral of Pope John Paul I
    October 3, 1978
  • Cardinal Karol Wojtyla is elected 264th Pope at approximately 5:15 p.m
    Cardinal Karol Wojtyla is elected 264th Pope at approximately 5:15 p.m. He is the 263rd Successor of Peter.
    Cardinal Karol Wojtyla is elected 264th Pope at approximately 5:15 p.m
    October 16, 1978
  • Takes first trip abroad
    Takes first trip abroad, to Dominican Republic, Mexico and the Bahamas.
    Takes first trip abroad
    January 25, 1979
  • Pope says Mass at the site of the Birkenau concentration camp, Auschwitz
    The pope says Mass at the site of the Birkenau concentration camp, the largest of 36 camps in a complex known collectively as Auschwitz.
    Pope says Mass at the site of the Birkenau concentration camp, Auschwitz
    June 7, 1979
  • John Paul II visits the United States for the first time as pope.
    John Paul II visits the United States for the first time as pope and addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
    John Paul II visits the United States for the first time as pope.
    September 29, 1979
1980's Pope
  • Pope is shot in the abdomen by a young Turk named Mehmet Ali Agca.
    Pope John Paul II is shot in the abdomen and hand in St. Peter's Square and seriously wounded. Mehmet Ali Agca, a Turk, is arrested. The pope spends 22 days in a hospital.
    Pope is shot in the abdomen by a young Turk named Mehmet Ali Agca.
    May 13, 1981
  • Spanish priest lunges at the pope with a bayonet in Fatima, Portugal
    A Spanish priest lunges at the pope with a bayonet during the first day of a papal trip to Fatima, Portugal. John Paul is unhurt.
    Spanish priest lunges at the pope with a bayonet in Fatima, Portugal
    May 12, 1982
  • Calls for the heads of government to end to the arms race
    Calls for the heads of government of the United States and the Soviet Union to negotiate an end to the arms race.
    Calls for the heads of government to end to the arms race
    September 29, 1983
  • Meets with and forgives his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca
    The pope meets with and forgives his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, in prison in Rome.
    Meets with and forgives his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca
    December 27, 1983
  • The United States and the Vatican establish full diplomatic relations.
    The United States and the Vatican establish full diplomatic relations.
    The United States and the Vatican establish full diplomatic relations.
    January 10, 1984
  • Historic visit to Rome's main synagogue
    John Paul II prays at Rome's main synagogue, the first ever recorded visit of a pope to a synagogue.
    Historic visit to Rome's main synagogue
    April 13, 1986
  • Official visit of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
    Official visit of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
    Official visit of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
    June 6, 1987
  • Official visit of U.S. President George H.W. Bush.
    Official visit of U.S. President George H.W. Bush.
    Official visit of U.S. President George H.W. Bush.
    May 27, 1989
  • Receives Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at the Vatican
    Receives Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at the Vatican in the first ever meeting between a pope and a Kremlin chief.
    Receives Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at the Vatican
    December 1, 1989
1990's Pope
  • Issues first encyclical on social issues.
    Issues first encyclical on social issues since the fall of communism in Europe, giving qualified approval to capitalism but warning rich against taking advantage of poor.
    Issues first encyclical on social issues.
    May 1, 1991
  • Agreement signed establishing formal diplomatic ties between Israel and Vatican.
    Agreement signed establishing formal diplomatic ties between Israel and Vatican.

    Agreement signed establishing formal diplomatic ties between Israel and Vatican.
    December 30, 1993
  • John Paul II reaffirms the church's opposition to female priests
    John Paul II reaffirms the church's opposition to female priests in a letter to bishops, writing that the church "has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the church's faithful."
    John Paul II reaffirms the church's opposition to female priests
    May 30, 1994
  • Publishes his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope.
    Publishes his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope.
    Publishes his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope.
    October 20, 1994
  • Issues encyclical "Gospel of Life," and condemns spreading "culture of death"
    Issues encyclical "Gospel of Life," and condemns spreading "culture of death," including abortion, euthanasia, experimentation on human embryos. The statement comes in the 11th encyclical -- a special letter reserved for matters of extreme importance to the church -- of John Paul's papacy.
    Issues encyclical "Gospel of Life," and condemns spreading "culture of death"
    March 25, 1995
  • Meets with Cuban President Fidel Castro.
    Meets with Cuban President Fidel Castro.
    Meets with Cuban President Fidel Castro.
    November 19, 1996
  • Vatican issues We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, or Holocaust
    Vatican issues We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, or Holocaust, expressing remorse for the cowardice of some Christians during World War II but defending the actions of wartime Pope Pius XII.
    Vatican issues We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, or Holocaust
    March 16, 1998
  • Celebrates 20th anniversary as pope, asking for prayers to fulfill his mission
    Celebrates 20th anniversary as pope, asking for prayers to fulfill his mission "until the end."
    Celebrates 20th anniversary as pope, asking for prayers to fulfill his mission
    October 18, 1998
  • Gives permission to start the cause of beatification for Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
    Gives permission to start the cause of beatification for Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
    Gives permission to start the cause of beatification for Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
    March 1, 1999
2000's Pope
  • Mehmet Ali Agca is granted clemency & extradited to Turkey
    Mehmet Ali Agca, who attempted to assassinate John Paul II in 1981, is granted clemency by Italian President Carlo Ciampi, and extradited to his native Turkey.
    Mehmet Ali Agca is granted clemency & extradited to Turkey
    June 13, 2000
  • Receives U.S. President George W. Bush.
    Receives U.S. President George W. Bush.
    Receives U.S. President George W. Bush.
    May 28, 2002
  • A top Vatican official confirms pope has Parkinson's disease.
    A top Vatican official publicly acknowledges for the first time what observers have suspected for a decade -- that John Paul II suffers from Parkinson's disease. The pope had long showed signs of Parkingson's, including slurred speech and trembling.
    A top Vatican official confirms pope has Parkinson's disease.
    May 17, 2003
  • U.S. President George W. Bush awards pontiff the Medal of Freedom.
    U.S. President George W. Bush awards pontiff the Medal of Freedom.
    U.S. President George W. Bush awards pontiff the Medal of Freedom.
    June 4, 2004
  • The pope breathes heavily and gasps during an open-air Mass in Lourdes, France
    The pope breathes heavily and gasps during an open-air Mass in Lourdes, France, during one of just two foreign trips during the year.
    The pope breathes heavily and gasps during an open-air Mass in Lourdes, France
    August 15, 2004
  • Rushed to a hospital in Rome with flu and difficulties breathing.
    Rushed to a hospital in Rome with flu and difficulties breathing.
    Rushed to a hospital in Rome with flu and difficulties breathing.
    February 1, 2005
  • Returns to hospital after a relapse of the flu; undergoes a tracheotomy
    Returns to hospital after a relapse of the flu; undergoes a tracheotomy to ease his breathing.
    Returns to hospital after a relapse of the flu; undergoes a tracheotomy
    February 24, 2005
  • Vatican announces John Paul II has a high fever as a result of urinary tract infection
    The Vatican announces that John Paul II has a high fever as a result of a urinary tract infection. He later suffers septic shock, meaning that bacteria had spread from his urinary tract to his blood, poisoning his blood stream and causing his blood vessels to collapse. The pope receives the sacrament for the sick and dying, formerly known as the last rites.
    Vatican announces John Paul II has a high fever as a result of urinary tract infection
    March 31, 2005
  • Pope John Paul II dies at 84.
    Pope John Paul II dies at 9:37 p.m. of septic shock and cardio-circulatory collapse. He was 84.
    Pope John Paul II dies at 84.
    April 2, 2005