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Pope John Paul II Headed Toward Sainthood

Pope John Paul II, who died in April 2005, will be given the next step needed to be recognized as a saint on Sunday. Many credit the deceased pope with helping to end communist rule in some European countries.

A week after Easter Sunday, Pope John Paul II will be one step closer to becoming a saint.

The Beatification of Pope John Paul II will take place this Sunday, also known as Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope John Paul II decreed the day as such in the General Roman Calendar, so it is notable that his beatification is being held on that occasion.

Father James Hyland, pastor at , said Beatification is the step prior to being canonized and recognized as an official saint.

"It's part of the process. Someone has to be proposed for sainthood and there is a whole process they go through," Hyland said. "There is an investigation and there have to be a couple of miracles attributed to that particular individual."

Hyland said it is surprising that Pope John Paul II is being considered for sainthood so soon after his death in 2005, but it speaks highly to his reputation as a strong leader. Usually, he said, it is many years before someone is even considered for being proposed for sainthood. Calls for immediate sainthood were made after the Pope's death, and the beatification date was set for this year.

"Normally it doesn't happen this quickly," Hyland said. "He is kind of on the fast track here. Usually it has to be many years before someone is proposed for sainthood, and the fact that this has happened so quickly for Pope John Paul II speaks a great deal about his impact and the type of leader people see him as."

Pope John Paul II is seen as having immensely assisted in the end of communism in Europe. Over two million people are expected to visit Rome for the Beatification services this weekend.

Most Holy Redeemer will mark the occasion at mass with the Prayer of the Faithful, Hyland said, adding that the church is also recognizing Divine Mercy Sunday. They will present the video "Ocean of Mercy: Three Lives, One Vision, No Limits," which takes a look at the lives and legacies of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, St. Maximilian Kolbe, and Pope John Paul II.

The church will show the film from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, and it is open to the public. Sunday mass times are 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Also on Sunday, confessions will be held at 2 p.m., and the Eucharist of the Holy Hour will begin at 3 p.m.

, 10233 S. Central Ave., holds it Sunday services at 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. 9343 S. Francisco Ave., holds it Sunday services at 7 a.m., 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Patch was unable to speak to church officials about any planned services they will have in honor of the Beatification of Pope John Paul II.

Those interested in learning more about this occasion can tune into Catholic cable network EWTN, which will be featuring different programs on the subject. At 12:30 p.m. Saturday, "Central: Live from the Circus Maximus, a vigil organized by the diocese of Rome," will air.

At 1:30 a.m. Sunday, May 1, mass coverage of the Beatification of Pope John Paul II will be available for viewing.

The network will present the Mass of Thanksgiving in Honor of the Beatification of Pope John Paul II at 3:30 a.m. Monday, May 2.

Nationally, Fox News, CNN and MSNBC will show live coverage of the Vatican's Sunday mass beginning at 3 a.m.

Diane April 30, 2011 at 10:26 PM
I thought that a person had to perform a miracle to become a Saint and that it would be investigated by the Church and a decision made. Has the Church now made it easier to become a Saint?
Renita Young May 01, 2011 at 04:07 AM
Hi Diane, The Catholic Church has not changed any of the qualifications for sainthood. The fact that Pope John Paul II is being beatified, means that he is literally one step closer to sainthood, because it is the third of four steps to being formally canonized and officially becoming a saint.

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