On Sunday, May 1st and 1AM ET the first Polish successor to St. Peter becomes one step closer to becoming a saint. Current Pope Benedict XVI will preside over deceased Pope John Paul II’s Beatification ceremony six years and 29 days after his death (which, if you’re layman, seems like a long time to wait, but is actually a very fast clip for such religious practices).
For all the non-Theology majors and non-Roman Catholics in the room, Beatification is:
A recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person’s entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name (intercession of saints). Beatification is the third of the four steps in the canonization process. A person who is beatified is given the title “Blessed.”
The ceremony begins at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, will include a 2AM EST Holy Mass on Sunday morning presided over by Pope Benedict XVI and will end with the weekly Marian Prayer and some kind words about Pope John Paul II at roughly 4:45AM EST.
If you can’t make it to St. Peter’s by Sunday or did make it but forgot to wear appropriate attire, you can tune into YouTube to catch a live stream of the religious event. Meanwhile, if you’re nostalgic for a time when the Roman Catholic Church had a more easily likable spiritual leader, you can tune into Pope John Paul II’s YouTube channel (or, if you’re Italian, Papa Giovanni Paolo II’s YouTube channel), specially created by the Vatican to celebrate and remember the late pontiff.