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placeholder Spiritual journey marked path to beatification for Pope John Paul II

‘Lessons’ recalled

Beatification, canonization differ

French nun healed

CYO camp: Focus on the person and traditional experience without electronics

Mall location brings tutoring close to kids

500 at first Walk Against Genocide

Teens spruce up Fairyland

Exhibit on maize in the Americas

• Sister Mary Victoria Hernandez, OP
• Sister Clarissa Marie Koscielski, OP
• Father John Mittelstadt, OFM

placeholder April 25, 2011   •   VOL. 49, NO. 8   •   Oakland, CA
Spiritual journey marked path to
beatification for Pope John Paul II

VATICAN CITY — As church officials keep emphasizing, Pope John Paul II is being beatified not for his performance as pope, but for how he lived the Christian virtues of faith, hope and love.

Click here to download a PDF depicting a timeline of Karol Wojtyla's life and accomplishments.

Beatification: May 1

Feast day: Oct. 22, the anniversary of his papacy

Thanksgiving Masses: Discretion of each bishop
Opening prayer for the Mass in honor of Blessed John Paul: “O God, who are rich in mercy and who willed that the Blessed John Paul II should preside as pope over your universal church, grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching, we may open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ, the sole redeemer of mankind. Who lives and reigns.”

Pope John Paul II, who died April 2, 2005, is shown in an image released March 25 by the postulation of his sainthood cause.
CNS photo/Grzegorz Galazka, courtesy of Postulation of Pope John Paul II
When the Vatican’s sainthood experts interviewed witnesses about the Polish pontiff, the focus of their investigation was on holiness, not achievement. What emerged was a spiritual portrait of Pope John Paul, one that reflected lifelong practices of prayer and devotion, a strong sense of his priestly vocation and a reliance on faith to guide his most important decisions.

More than leadership or managerial skills, these spiritual qualities were the key to his accomplishments — both before and after his election as pope in 1978.

From an early age, Karol Wojtyla faced hardships that tested his trust in God. His mother died when he was 9, and three years later he lost his only brother to scarlet fever. His father died when he was 20, and friends said Wojtyla knelt for 12 hours in prayer and sorrow at his bedside. His calling to the priesthood was not something that happened overnight. It took shape during the dramatic years of World War II, after a wide variety of other experiences: Among other things, he had acted with a theater group, split stone at a quarry, written poetry and supported a network that smuggled Jews to safety.

Pope John Paul’s death in 2005 came on the eve of Mercy Sunday, and his beatification May 1 will be celebrated on Mercy Sunday.

Pope John Paul canonized 482 people, more than all his predecessors combined. Although the Vatican was sometimes humorously referred to as a “saint factory” under Pope John Paul, the pope was making a very serious effort to underline what he called the “universal call to holiness” — the idea that all Christians, in all walks of life, are called to sanctity.

“There can never be enough saints,” he once remarked. He was convinced that God sometimes speaks to the world through simple and uneducated people. St. Faustina was one; he also canonized St. Padre Pio, the Italian mystic, and St. Juan Diego, the Mexican peasant.

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