Pope Benedict will celebrate a Mass on Monday, March 29, marking the fifth anniversary of the death of Venerable John Paul II. The late Pope's death, at the age of 84, occurred on April 2, 2005 after battling Parkinson's disease.
Just over one month after John Paul II's death, his cause for beatification was formally opened. The near immediate initiation of his cause was made possible by Pope Benedict XVI waiving the five-year waiting period the Church law normally requires before beginning the sainthood process.
In April 2007, the diocesan phase of the cause of beatification was concluded, as all of the testimony on the life of the late Pontiff had been gathered together. Then, last December, Benedict XVI signed a decree recognizing JPII's life of heroic virtue, giving him the title, “Venerable.”
Last month, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who was John Paul II’s personal secretary for 40 years, told participants at a Colombian conference that the late-Pope's beatification process “is practically finished.”
“In order for the beatification to take place,” he added, “it is important that the Church recognizes a miracle in which he has interceded. There is a case that is currently being investigated and it is of the miraculous healing of a French nun suffering from Parkinson’s.”
The date of John Paul II's beatification is not yet determined.