Pope John Paul II Memorial Video - As the Vatican prepares for the beatification of Pope John Paul II, this 17-minute commemoration looks back at his pontificate through images and video clips of his extensive travels, highlighting his seven visits to the United States and the mutual affection that developed between the pope and the American people.
Video from United States Conference of Catholic Bishops archives. Photos courtesy L’Osservatore Romano from the book John Paul II: A Light for the World.
On May 1, 2011, the man who canonized more saints than any other pope in modern history will be one step closer to sainthood himself when he becomes “Blessed John Paul II.”
Pope Benedict VXI will preside at the beatification ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on the Second Sunday of Easter, the last day of the Octave of Easter, also known as Divine Mercy Sunday.
The date has much significance in John Paul II’s life. In 2000, he presided at the canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska, a countrywoman from his native Poland, on the Sunday after Easter and declared that day should thereafter be known as "Divine Mercy Sunday” in honor of the saint’s lifelong effort to shed light on the mystery of divine mercy. Pope John Paul II died on April 2, just a day before the 2005 celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday.
The beatification ceremonies for John Paul II will begin with an open air evening vigil on Saturday, April 30, at the Circus Maximus, the site of the ancient Roman racing grounds between the Palatine and Aventine hills.
The actual beatification ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m., Sunday, May 1, in St. Peter's Square. No tickets are needed for the ceremony, but visitors are expected to arrive early to secure a space.
According to Monsignor Guido Marini, Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, the beatification ceremony will have the same characteristics of every beatification ceremony, including the proclamation of the newly Blessed during the Mass and the reading of a brief summary of the life of John Paul II. Following the proclamation, an image of John Paul II will be unfurled to hang from the central balcony in front of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Immediately after the ceremony, the remains of the newly Blessed John Paul II will be placed in front of the High Altar in St. Peter's Basilica for veneration. On Monday, May 2, at 10:30 a.m., Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone will preside at a Mass of thanksgiving in St. Peter's Square.
Following this Mass, Pope John Paul II’s remains will be reinterred in the side chapel of St. Sebastian, in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The beatification of Pope John Paul II comes on a rare fast track just six years following his death. The speedy process was made possible when the Congregation for the Causes of Saints waived the usual five-year waiting period that is normally required before a cause for beatification and canonization can begin. It follows a precedent John Paul II himself set when he beatified Mother of Teresa of Calcutta in 2003, just six years after her death.
During his pontificate, John Paul II canonized 482 saints. All other twentieth century popes combined canonized a total of 98 saints. With his 1983 apostolic constitution, Divinus Perfectionis Magister, Pope John Paul II simplified procedures for beatification and canonization allowing so many blesseds and saints to be named during his pontificate. John Paul II believed that the exemplary lives of the saints could inspire the faithful to answer the universal call to holiness.
“The saints offer us precious insights which enable us to understand more easily the intuition of faith, thanks to the special enlightenment which some of them have received from the Holy Spirit, or even through their personal experience of those terrible states of trial which the mystical tradition describes as the ‘dark night.’”
---Pope John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, Apostolic Letter at the Close of the Great Jubilee of The Year 2000