Diocesan celebration of Blessed John Paul II's beatification Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Patrick Delaney, Office of Evangelization & Catechesis, Diocese of Madison   
Thursday, May. 03, 2012 -- 12:00 AM
Sr. Marie Simon-Pierre poses in front of a picture of the late Pope John Paul II after a news conference in Aix en Provence, France, in January of 2011.  (CNS photo/Jean-Paul Pelissier, Reuters)

MADISON -- The chant rang out in St. Peter’s square in Rome at what turned out to be perhaps the largest gathering in of Christianity in history, “Santo Subito!”

A consensus among the faithful and even the community of the world seemed to be aptly expressed: “Sainthood Now!” for the recently deceased pontiff John Paul II.

Joining the estimated four million Christian mourners gathered in Rome was the single largest gathering of heads of state ever outside of the United Nations, including four kings, five queens, and at least 70 presidents and prime ministers, with more than 14 leaders of other religions symbolizing this universal recognition of John Paul II’s extraordinary life.

“Santo Subito” was not just a slogan that emerged on this afternoon of April 8, 2005, but one that dates back to the early centuries of the Church in conjunction with another slogan at the time, “Vox Populi, vox Dei,” meaning “The voice of the people is the voice of God.”

We would also refer to this reality in the Church today as the “Sensus Fidelium,” the sense of the faithful, which recognizes that since the Holy Spirit is the “soul of the Church,” when the People of God — the laity with their sacred pastors — speak with one voice, they cannot error.

Perhaps recognizing these specific “exceptional circumstances,” Pope Benedict XVI waived the standard five-year waiting period before a cause of canonization can go forward just one month following his predecessor’s funeral and allowed these proceedings to begin immediately.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints gave top priority to John Paul II’s cause but they did not curtail the scrutiny of his life and works. Perhaps more than any other person in history, John Paul II lived before the eyes of the world. His words, statements, writings, and actions were well known to the public. The investigation collected and examined literally tens of thousands of pages of testimony.

In November 2009, the Congregation voted to approve the decree testifying to the “heroic virtue” of the Pope John Paul II and with Pope Benedict’s official approval, John Paul acquired the title “venerable.” All that remained for his beatification was authenticated confirmation by Vatican officials that a miracle had been granted by God due to the intercession of the former pontiff.

Schedule of events for diocesan celebration
12:30 p.m. — Exhibits open. Confessions available.
1:30 p.m. — St. Thérèse Lecture: “Faith, Reason, and Unity” by Prof. Douglas Bushman.
3:00 p.m. — Break.
3:30 p.m. — Mass with Bishop Robert C. Morlino.
4:30 p.m. — Reception.
Miracle of healing

On January 14, 2011, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints released a decree formally approved by Pope Benedict XVI which confirmed the authenticity of a miracle through the intercession of the Polish pontiff, fulfilling the final requirement for his beatification.

The miracle involved the healing of Sr. Marie Simon-Pierre, a French Sister diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2001. By the time of the pontiff’s death her condition was steadily deteriorating. She was struggling to write, walk, and to function normally.

Inspired by John Paul II’s public witness to the sanctity of life in his struggle with Parkinson’s disease, all the members of her congregation, the Little Sisters of Catholic Motherhood, began to pray to John Paul for his intercession to God for her healing.

On June 3, 2005, just weeks following the late Holy Father’s death, Sister Marie Simon was suddenly cured. She testified that after going to bed the previous evening, she woke up early in the morning feeling completely different. “I was sure I was healed,” she said. She happily resumed her work in Paris at a maternity hospital run by her order.

Celebrating beatification

Last May 1, 2011, on the Feast of Divine Mercy, Blessed John Paul II was beatified by his close friend and collaborator during his pontificate, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

In order to fittingly celebrate this event and honor Blessed John Paul II, this holy pontiff who inspired so many of us, along with believers and unbelievers around the world, Bishop Robert C. Morlino invites all of the faithful of the Diocese of Madison to join him on Sunday, May 20, at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Madison for a special day involving Holy Mass, refreshments, exhibits, and a lecture by Professor Douglas Bushman of Ave Maria’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. An engaging lecturer, Professor Bushman is also an expert on Blessed John Paul II’s theological and doctrinal writings, teaching these subjects at the graduate level.

The schedule of events is included with this article. People are asked to register at All who come will be most welcome; registration simply assists us in being prepared for the honor of your presence. Please join us and celebrate the glorious life of our former Holy Father, this beatified saint we knew.

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