Late Polish-Born Pontiff to Be Declared Blessed on May 1
April 29, 2011
Pope John Paul II
Hundreds of thousands visitors are expected in Rome for
the May 1 beatification of the late Polish-born Pope John Paul II, the biggest event in Vatican City since his funeral in 2005 attended by millions of people.
More than one hundred charter planes will bring the faithful from Poland and other countries to Rome to witness the ceremony in St. Peter's Square celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI during which Pope John Paul II will be declared “blessed”.
Pope Benedict waived the typical five-year waiting period before the process could begin, but he insisted that the investigation into John Paul's life be thorough so as to not leave any doubts about his virtues.
In a decree Pope Benedict said that a French nun Sister Marie Simon-Pierre 's recovery from Parkinson's disease was a miracle due to the intercession of John Paul, the last step needed for beatification. A second miracle is needed for the Polish-born John Paul to be made a saint.
Churches around Poland will stage all-night vigils before the beatification.
Born in Wadowice, Poland, in 1920, Karol Wojtyla was the youngest pope in 125 years and the first non-Italian in 455 years when he was elected pope in 1978.