.- Mere two months and twenty-six days after his death in April, the Vatican will officially open the cause for beatification of the late Pope John Paul II this afternoon at St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome.
The ceremony, to be lead by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar of the Diocese of Rome, will begin following Vespers on the eve of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Msgr. Slawomir Oder, the polish priest who has been appointed postulator of the cause, will present his mandate to the members of the diocesan tribunal, including Cardinal Ruini. He will then receive approval to compile a complete dossier on "the life and the virtues" of "the Servant of God John Paul II, in lay life Karol Wojtyla, Sovereign Pontiff."
Then an official oath will be administered to Msgr. Oder and to the other officials associated with the cause. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Cardinal Ruini will pronounce a discourse imploring the faithful to pray âfor the intercession of the Servant of God Pope John Paul II.
âThe proceedings will begin a diocesan investigation into the life, virtues and saintliness of the 26-year reining pontiff born in Poland as Karol Wojtyla.
Pope Benedict XVI announced the unusually quick opening of John Paulâs cause on May 13 during a meeting with the Roman clergy in which he waived the normal five-year waiting period after the death of a Servant of God.
The process will be performed by the diocesan tribunal of Rome, which is responsible for the first phase, including an analysis of the life and writings of John Paul, and the hearing of witnesses. The Vatican noted that if a positive verdict to these initial proceedings is forthcoming, the case will pass to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints where, following a fresh examination of the material, extraordinary favors, or miracles will be studied with the help of doctors and experts. If a miracle is in fact found, the Pope could order beatification almost immediately.
Since the publication of an email address to which people can send their testimonies regarding the holiness of the late Pope, the Diocese of Rome has received thousands of letters from all over the world. Most have come from Latin America, Italy and Poland.
Those wishing to submit testimonies can send them to: [email protected]
Also included on the site, in various languages, is the prayer approved by the vicariate of Rome to implore the intercession of Servant of God John Paul II, included in its entirety here: "O Blessed Trinity. We thank You for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him. Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you. Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will, the graces we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen."
The official website for the beatification of John Paul II: http://www.vicariatusurbis.org/Beatificazione/