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First step toward beatification of John Paul II

Vatican, Jun. 27, 2005 ( - The first official phase in the process toward beatification for Pope John Paul II (bio - news) will be opened June 28.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's vicar for Rome, will preside at the formal opening of the diocesan investigation into the life of the late Pontiff. The ceremony, to be held in the basilica of St. John Lateran-- the cathedral of the Rome diocese-- will be held in conjunction with the first Vespers for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, patrons of the diocese.

The beatification process begins in the diocese where the candidate died: thus, in the case of John Paul II, in Rome. Ordinarily the process cannot begin until five years after the candidate's death. But because Pope Benedict waived that requirement in the case of his predecessor-- a decision he announced in the same Lateran basilica on May 13-- the process will begin less than 3 months after the Pontiff's death.

After the Vespers ceremony, Msgr. Slawomir Oder, who has been appointed as postulator for the cause of John Paul II, will present his mandate to the members of the diocesan tribunal, including Cardinal Ruini. He will then receive formal approval to compile a thorough dossier on "the life and the virtues" of "the Servant of God John Paul II, in lay life Karol Wojtyla, Sovereign Pontiff." After the administration of an oath of office to Msgr. Oder and the other officials associated with the cause, all of the faithful present at the ceremony will be encouraged to pray "for the intercession of the Servant of God John Paul II. " The Rome diocese has already announced that anyone having specific testimony to present regarding the life and virtue of Pope John Paul, or miracles attributed to his intercession, should write to the Rome vicariate. Testimony can be sent by email to:

On May 30, the Rome diocese had published an official edict, signed by Cardinal Ruini, announcing the opening of the cause for John Paul II. That edict described the deceased Pontiff as "a man of intense prayer, a tireless pastor of the universal Church, and a courageous witness to the Gospel of Christ." It adds that his reputation for personal holiness, already widespread during his lifetime, "exploded in a brilliant manner at the time of his death."



Copyright 2004 Victor Claveau. All Rights Reserved