Pope John Paul II To Be Beatified Sunday
The Catholic Church beatifies a person after he or she is proven to have performed at least one miracle.
In Pope John Paul II's case, a French nun said she was cured of Parkinson's disease, an affliction which the pontiff suffered later on in life, after she prayed to the recently deceased pope.
CNN Rome correspondent Jim Bittermann remembers the popular pontiff, who died in 2005:
For me, the most enduring and insightful memories of traveling with John Paul II were the two times I traveled with him to his hometown of Wadowice, Poland.
Both times, the crowds and the pope were highly emotional. Wadowice is in a hard-working part of southern Poland. The pope’s former friends and neighbors could not have been more proud of the local son who made good.
In a way, it reminded me of my own hometown in Illinois, about the same size as Wadowice and marked by heavy industry and heavy pollution.
Ceremonies began on Saturday at the Vatican for the pope's beatification.
France 24 reports that more than 500,000 people have flocked to Rome for the occasion, which includes prayer and a mass on Sunday:
The late pope's coffin has been brought from the crypt under Saint Peter's basilica, while a phial of blood, extracted from him on his deathbed, is destined to become the official holy relic once he is canonised.
Two types of saints are recognized by the Catholic Church: confessors, who show their faith through extreme virtue, and martyrs, who die for their beliefs.
Pope John Paul II was known for his celebration of life and his love to travel.
Father Frank Pavone writes:
If he could repeat one thing to us this day, I believe it would be his words at World Youth Day in Denver on August 15, 1993: “Have no fear. The outcome of the battle for life is already decided … You too must feel the full urgency of the task … Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life. …This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops.”