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Pope recalls John Paul II's beatification

Benedict addresses Poles after one-year anniversary

02 May, 13:49
Pope recalls John Paul II's beatification (ANSA) - Vatican City, May 2 - Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday recalled the beatification of his predecessor John Paul II on May 1, 2011.

Speaking in Polish at his general audience, Benedict told a large group of Poles who had come to Rome for the one-year anniversary: "Strengthened by his (John Paul's) heavenly intercession, be faithful to God, to the Cross and the Holy Gospel".

John Paul II was beatified at a ceremony presided over by Benedict in St. Peter's Square with a crowd of around 1.5 million watching one of history's most popular popes move a step from sainthood.

The Polish pope died aged 84 on April 2, 2005. The beatification proclamation established that John Paul's feast day would be October 22, the anniversary of the day in 1978 when his pontificate was inaugurated.

Benedict sanctioned the beatification after a Vatican commission officially attributed a miracle to John Paul - the inexplicable recovery of a French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, from Parkinson's Disease through the intervention of the late pope, who also suffered from Parkinson's Disease.

John Paul will have to have another miracle recognised before he can be canonized.

Benedict put his predecessor's beatification cause on a fast track, waiving a rule requiring a five-year wait before the start of the process, after crowds called on him to be made a 'Santo Subito!' (Saint Now!) at his funeral.

The Vatican, however, has insisted this did not mean the process had been any less rigorous than otherwise would have been the case.

photo: John Paul in 2004