The much-anticipated beatification of Pope John Paul II will take place on May 1, the Sunday after Easter, the Vatican announced.UPDATE - JPII to be patron of next World Youth Day!
The healing of a French nun with Parkinson's disease is to go down in history as the miracle that made John Paul II a "blessed." The title is given to martyrs and other Christians to whom a miracle has been officially attributed, thus bringing them one step closer to sainthood.
Pope Benedict XVI approved the decree for the beatification of his predecessor during a Jan. 14 audience with the head of the Vatican department for saints' causes, Cardinal Angelo Amato.
John Paul II's cause arrived in the current's Pope's hands for approval after doctors studied the miraculous healing of Sister Marie Simon Pierre Normand and concluded it was "scientifically unexplainable." Following approval from theologians and Church officials, Pope Benedict promulgated the decree with his signature.
The atmosphere was electric at noon in the the Holy See's Press Office with journalists from all over the world expecting news of the beatification decree.
During the rather cheerful press briefing, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi explained some of the details of the process and revealed preliminary plans for the ceremony.
In what some have called "record time," the Pope's cause was seemingly expedited through the trials to prove his sainthood. Fr. Lombardi admitted that the cause for the Pope was "facilitated" because of his "great fame of sanctity."
At Pope Benedict's bidding, norms stipulating that saints' causes begin five years after the individual's death were waived. His cause, as those of others Popes and special cases, also leapfrogged others in what is usually a "first in, first examined" process.
Also, here is the full text of the decree.