Monday, February 21, 2011

Pope John Paul II To Be Exhumed For Beatification In May

pope john-paul II
Millions are expected to attend John Paul II's beatification in May.

It will take two miracles for Pope John Paul II to become a saint.

Millions of people – including an estimated 700,000 Poles – are expected to flock to Rome this year to witness his progress towards sainthood.

But a combination of canny hoteliers, a public holiday and the enduring popularity of the late pontiff are conspiring to ensure that the pilgrimage on 1 May will be a costly affair.

"It will be a great festival of popular faith, and it is not fair to exploit worldwide devotion and genuine love for the Blessed [Karol] Wojtyla," said Giovanni Lajolo, the governor of the Vatican city state.

John Paul II moved a step closer to sainthood last month when his successor, Benedict XVI, approved a decree attributing a miracle to him. It concerned a French nun sister Simon-Pierre diagnosed with Parkinson's disease who said her illness had inexplicably disappeared after she and her fellow nuns prayed to him.

Church-appointed doctors agreed there was no medical explanation for her being cured.

Benedict had already suspended the rules that normally impose a five-year waiting period after a candidate's death before the sainthood procedure can start.

Indeed, crowds at John Paul's 2005 funeral chanted "santo subito" (make him a saint right now).

"The pilgrims are coming from every corner of the planet: Poland, obviously, but also France, Germany, Spain and many from South America," said Andrea Misuri, the administrator responsible for the province of Rome's 200 monasteries and convents.

Pope John Paul II‘s coffin will be exhumed to allow faithfuls to pray before his coffin during his beatification, Reuters reports.

The Vatican said Pope John Paul II’s coffin will be exhumed from its current resting place, under Saint Peter’s Basilica. The closed coffin will be moved upstairs before the main altar for viewing and veneration.

Pope Benedict XVI set May 1 as the date of Pope John Paul II’s beatification— a key step for the late pope’s sainthood.

Pope John Paul II will be given the title “Blessed” after he is beatified.

A second miracle is needed to declare Pope John Paul II a saint.

The last event of this magnitude was John Paul II's funeral in April 2005 when, according to the Italian department of civil protection, more than 3 million people were present.

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