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St.Gianna's Beatification
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Saints are examples of how to follow Jesus Christ in every circumstance. "In the lives of those who shared in our humanity and yet were transformed into especially successful images of Christ, God vividly manifests to men his presence and his face. He speaks to us in them, and gives us a sign of his Kingdom, to which we are powerfully drawn, surrounded as we are by so many witnesses ( cf. Hebrews 12,1).

Pope John Paul II Role in Canonization

Pope John Paul II has been proactive in encouraging the work of the Vatican congregation with the task of studying the recorded history of the lives of those with reputed extraordinary holiness. Thus, more saints have been added to the Church's listing (canon of saints) during Pope John Paul II's pontificate. Our Holy Father’s has a great desire to see those of extraordinary holiness duly recognized for their inspiring holiness. He has been particularly conscious of encouraging the examination of the lives of lay people who were noted for their holiness, so that the Church's liturgical life can be enriched by the models of marriage, family life, or the single life which holy lay people offer. While the pope plays a key role in the canonization process, as the one who issues the ultimate decree of canonization, there are many other significant moments in the process that precede the pope's final affirmation in the matter.

Recognition of a Saint

The bishop of the diocese in which the person whose beatification is being requested died is responsible for beginning the investigation. The promoter group ('Actor Causae'): diocese, parish, religious congregation, association, asks the bishop through the postulator for the opening of the investigation. The bishop, once the 'nulla osta' of the Holy See is obtained, forms a diocesan tribunal for this purpose. Witnesses are called before the tribunal to recount concrete facts on the exercise of Christian virtues considered heroic, that is, the theological virtues: faith, hope and charity, and the cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude, and others specific to his state in life. In addition, all documents regarding the candidate must be gathered. At this point he is entitled to the title of Servant of God.

Opening of a cause for Canonization

Once the diocesan investigation is finished, the acts and documentation are passed on to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The public copy used for further work is put together here. The postulator, resident in Rome, follows the preparation of the 'Positio', or summary of the documentation that proves the heroic exercise of virtue, under the direction of a relator of the Congregation. The 'Positio' undergoes an examination (theological) by nine theologians who give their vote. If the majority of the theologians are in favor, the cause is passed on for examination by cardinals and bishops who are members of the congregation. They hold meetings twice a month. If their judgment is favorable, the prefect of the congregation presents the results of the entire course of the cause to the Holy Father, who gives his approval and authorizes the congregation to draft the relative decree.


For the beatification of a confessor a miracle attributed to the Servant of God, verified after his death, is necessary. The required miracle must be proven through the appropriate canonical investigation, following a procedure analogous to that for heroic virtues. This one too is concluded with the relative decree. Once the two decrees are promulgated (regarding the heroic virtues and the miracle) the Holy Father decides on beatification, which is the concession of public worship, limited to a particular sphere. With beatification the candidate receives the title of Saint.

If the candidate was martyred, a miracle need not be sought. If the candidate did not die as a martyr, then one miracle after death must be proven, through the scrutiny of a body of medical experts. After the beatification takes place, the candidate can be called Saint and the local church may offer veneration. One who has been beatified by the Church is considered particularly Saint by God and therefore worthy of a certain degree of veneration by the faithful. This permission to venerate is a much more limited scope though than what would ultimately be granted by virtue of canonization. Public reverence of one who is titled "Saint" can be permitted in restricted circumstances, but ordinarily public prayers in his or her honor, or Masses with prayers that make reference to the one beatified are permitted only in special cases and in rather localized circumstances


For canonization, another miracle is needed, attributing to the intercession of the Saint and having occurred after the beautification. The methods for ascertainment of the affirmed miracle are the same as those followed for beautification. Canonization is understood as the concession of public worship in the Catholic Church. Pontificate infallibility is involved. With canonization, the Saint acquires the title of “SAINT”.

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