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Beatification

Pope Francis clears John Paul II for sainthood, decides to canonize John XXIII without miracle

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By Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis on Friday cleared two of the 20th century’s most influential popes to become saints, approving a miracle needed to canonize Pope John Paul II and waiving Vatican rules to honour Pope John XXIII.

It was a remarkable show of papal authority and confirmed Francis’ willingness to bend church tradition when it comes to things he cares deeply about. Both popes are also closely identified with the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that brought the Catholic Church into modern times, an indication that Francis clearly wants to make a statement about the council’s role in shaping the church today.

Francis approved a decree that a Costa Rican woman’s inexplicable cure from a deadly brain aneurism was the “miracle” needed to canonize John Paul. More significantly, he decided that John XXIII, who convened Vatican II, could be declared a saint even without a second miracle attributed to his intercession. The Vatican said Francis had the power to dispense with such requirements and could proceed with only one confirmed miracle to John’s name.

The ceremony is expected before the end of the year. The date of Dec. 8 has been floated as likely, given it’s the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a major feast day for the church that honours Mary, to whom both saintly popes were particularly devoted. Polish prelates continue to press for October, to mark the 35th anniversary of the Polish-born John Paul’s election, but Vatican officials have suggested that’s too soon to organize such a massive event.

The announcement came on a remarkable day melding papacies past and present: It opened with Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI attending their first Vatican ceremony together, sitting side-by-side on matching papal chairs for the unveiling of a statue in the Vatican gardens. It continued with the publication of Francis’ first encyclical, a meditation on faith that was largely written by Benedict before he retired but was signed by Francis. And it climaxed with Francis’ decision to canonize two other predecessors.

Each event, historic on its own, would have captured headlines. But the canonization announcement capped them all, reflecting the priorities of this unique pontificate that has already broken so many rules and traditions, from Francis’ decision to shun papal vestments to his housing arrangements, living in the Vatican hotel rather than the stuffy Apostolic Palace.

The Rev. Thomas Reese, a Vatican analyst, said the decision to canonize both popes was a “brilliant move to unify the church,” given that each pope has his own admirers and critics.

“With the joint announcement, Pope Francis is saying we do not have to choose between popes, we can honour and revere both as holy men who served the church well in their times,” he wrote on his blog for the National Catholic Reporter newspaper.

Vatican II, which John XXIII opened a year before his 1963 death, opened the church to people of other faiths and allowed for Mass to be celebrated in the languages of the faithful, rather than Latin. In the years since it closed in 1965, though, it has become a source of division in the church, with critics blaming a faulty interpretation of Vatican II’s true meaning on the fall in priestly vocations and the “crisis” in the church today.

To anyone who has been paying attention, Francis’ decision to canonize John Paul and John XXIII should come as no surprise: The Jesuit was made a cardinal by John Paul, who attended Vatican II, and is very much a priest of John’s legacy.

On the anniversary of John Paul’s death this year, Francis prayed at the tombs of both John Paul and John XXIII — an indication that he sees a great personal and spiritual continuity in them.

“Two different popes, very important to the church, will be announced saint together – it’s a beautiful gesture,” said the Rev. Jozef Kloch, spokesman for Poland’s Catholic bishops, who like most Poles was overjoyed by the news of John Paul’s impending canonization but impatient to know the date.

Francis will set the date at an upcoming meeting of cardinals.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed that the miracle that brought John Paul to the ranks of saints concerned a Costa Rican woman, Floribeth Mora, who on Friday broke months of silence to tell her story in public, surrounded by her family, doctors and church officials at a news conference in the archbishop’s residence in San Jose, Costa Rica.

A tearful Mora described how she awoke at her home in Dulce Nombre de Tres Rios, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the capital, on April 8, 2011 with a debilitating headache that sent her to the hospital. She was diagnosed with having suffered a cerebral aneurism in the right side of her brain.

Doctors decided they couldn’t operate because the area was inaccessible.

“With an open operation or an endovascular intervention, the risk to Floribeth would have been to die or be left with a significant neurological deficit,” her doctor, Dr. Alejandro Vargas, told reporters.

She was sent home with painkillers.

“I returned home with the fear that I was going to die,” Mora said.

Nevertheless, a few days later, she insisted on participating in a religious procession during which she said she received a sign that she would be healed. The family decided to build a shrine to John Paul outside their home: a colorful altar with a photo of the late pope next to a statue of the Madonna and surrounded by flowers, candles and Christmas lights.

On the day John Paul was beatified, May 1, 2011, Mora said she insisted on watching the Mass, which drew some 1.5 million people to St. Peter’s Square and the streets around it.

“I contemplated the photo of the Holy Father with his arms extended and I fixed my eyes on him,” she said. “In this moment, I heard a voice tell me ‘get up, don’t be afraid,’ and I could only say ‘Yes, I’m going to get up.'”

She said her family was shocked to see her get out of bed. “I was afraid to tell my husband, because he was going to think I was crazy or on drugs. But I got up from bed, and I am here before you, healthy,” she said.

Medical tests confirmed that the aneurism had disappeared, Vargas said. “It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like it,” he said, showing the before and after images of the hemorrhage.

John Paul, who was pope from 1978-2005, revolutionized the papacy, travelling the world and inspiring a generation of young Catholics to be excited about their faith. He was the first Polish pope and the first non-Italian in 455 years — a legacy that continued with the German-born Benedict XVI and Argentine Francis.

John XXIII, dubbed the “good pope” for his affable nature, is best known for having convened Vatican II, sensing that the time was ripe for a renewal of the church. But he has fallen from favour among conservatives who blame Vatican II for the church’s problems today.

Benedict spent much of his pontificate trying to correct what he considered wrong interpretations of Vatican II, insisting it wasn’t the break from the past that liberals believed.

While not disagreeing outright with Benedict, Francis seems to take a more progressive read of Vatican II and its call to go out into the world and spread the faith — a priority he has shown in the first months of his pontificate.

The two living popes, however, clearly get along.

“Your holiness, good day and thank you!” Francis beamed on Friday as he greeted Benedict in the Vatican gardens for the unveiling of the statue. Benedict, 86, appeared in good form, walking slowly but on his own and greeting well-wishers.

The Vatican’s complicated saint-making procedure requires that the Vatican certify a “miracle” was performed through the intercession of the candidate — a medically inexplicable cure that is lasting, immediate and can be directly linked to the prayers offered by the faithful. One miracle is needed for beatification, a second for canonization.

Benedict put John Paul on the fast track for possible sainthood when he dispensed with the traditional five-year waiting period and allowed the beatification process to begin weeks after his John Paul’s death. Benedict was responding to chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Immediately” which erupted during John Paul’s funeral.

There has been some concern that the process has been too quick. Some of the Holy See’s deep-seated problems — clerical sex abuse, dysfunctional governance and more recently the financial scandals at the Vatican bank — essentially date from shortcomings of his pontificate.

Thus the decision to canonize John Paul along with John XXIII can be seen as trying to balance those concerns, as well as the shortcomings of each pope.

Such was the case in 2000, when John Paul beatified John XXIII, dubbed the “good pope,” alongside Pope Pius IX, who was criticized by Jews for condoning the seizure of a Jewish boy and allegedly referring to Jews as dogs.

As soon as the announcement was made, John Paul’s critics came out: Juan Vaca, one of the victims of notorious pedophile priest the Rev. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ religious order, said the decision to canonize John Paul was “appalling and shocking” given the thousands of victims of sex abuse who were ignored under his 27-year pontificate.

The Vatican has argued that sainthood cases are based on the record of the person, not the pontificate.

Asked how John XXIII, elected in 1958, could be canonized without a second miracle, the Vatican spokesman insisted that many theologians believe that a second miracle isn’t required. He said Francis had approved a decision by the cardinals and bishops of the Vatican’s saint-making office.

“Certainly the pope has the power, in a certain sense, to dispense of the second miracle in a cause, and this is what happened,” Lombardi said.

He stressed that this decision didn’t represent any relaxing of the Vatican’s overall standards for canonization, but represented a unique situation, given that the church this year is marking the 50th anniversary of Vatican II.

“John XXIII is someone who we know is beloved in the church, we’re in the 50th anniversary of the Council which he started, and I don’t think any of us have any doubts about his virtues,” Lombardi said.

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, John Paul’s longtime secretary, was clearly pleased that his pope would finally be made a saint.

“John Paul II’s holiness was simple, humble, of service,” Dziwisz wrote in Friday’s Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. “He lived for God and brought others to God.”

___

Javier Cordoba in San Jose, Costa Rica, and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw contributed to this report.


Popes John Paul II, John XXIII to be made saints: Vatican

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By Philip Pullella – Reuters

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope John Paul II, the globe-trotting pontiff who led the Catholic Church for nearly 27 years, and Pope John XXIII, who called the reforming Second Vatican Council, will be declared saints, the Vatican said on Friday.

The Vatican said Pope Francis had approved a second miracle attributed to John Paul, a Pole who was elected in 1978 as the first non-Italian pope in 450 years and died in 2005. His progression to sainthood is the fastest in modern times.

The Vatican also said Pope John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963 and called the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council – which enacted sweeping reforms to modernize the Church – would be made a saint even though he has only been credited with one miracle since his death.

The canonization ceremonies, which are likely to bring hundreds of thousands to people to Rome, are expected this year.

John Paul had already been credited with asking God to cure a French nun of Parkinson’s disease, the same malady he had, before he was beatified in 2011.

Two confirmed miracles are usually required under Vatican rules for the declaration of a saint.

The second miracle attributed to his intercession is the inexplicable curing of a Costa Rican woman who prayed to him for help with her medical condition on the day of his beatification.

In the case of Pope John XXIII, who was known as the “good pope”, Francis waived the customary rules requiring a second miracle after beatification, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said. John XXIII was beatified in 2000.

Francis, who has tried to instill a spirit of simplicity and reform in the Church since his election in March, is known to have great admiration for the reforming Pope John, who was born of peasant stock in northern Italy.

John Paul went down in history as the “globe-trotting pope,” visiting every inhabited continent in more than 100 trips outside Italy.

LAST DAYS WATCHED BY WORLD

His struggle with ill health was watched by millions around the world on television towards the end of his life.

He was also credited with being instrumental in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989 because of his steadfast defense of the Solidarity trade union in his native Poland.

After martial law was declared in Poland in 1981, he is believed to have told then-Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev that if Russia invaded Poland, he would return home.

John Paul was nearly killed by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca, who shot him in St Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981. Two trials failed to prove Italian magistrates’ accusations that the Bulgarian secret services had carried out the plot with Agca on behalf of the Soviet Union.

Millions of people attended his funeral in April, 2005, and many cried “Santo Subito” or “Make him a saint immediately”.

His successor, Benedict, waived a Church rule that normally requires a five-year waiting period before the preliminaries to sainthood can even begin.

John Paul is respected by Jews because of his 1986 visit to Rome’s synagogue, the first by a pope to a Jewish temple.

He is already considered a saint by millions of his countrymen in Poland, having supported their bid for freedom on the world stage for 11 years before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

“I am so happy and hardly can wait. John Paul II was one of a kind,” said Ewa Jezierska, 72, a Polish saleswoman in Warsaw.

Liberals in the Church say John Paul was too harsh with theological dissenters who wanted to help the poor, particularly in Latin America. Others say he should be held ultimately responsible for sexual abuse scandals because they occurred or came to light when he was in charge.

John Paul also drew criticism for supporting the late Father Marcial Maciel, the Mexican founder of the Legionaries of Christ religious order, defending him despite charges of sexual abuse that later turned out to be true.

John XXIII has for decades been venerated by Italians who recall his kind gestures. While he was pope for less than five years, his short pontificate coincided with the post-World War Two “economic miracle” that transformed Italy from a devastated agricultural backwater to an international economic power.

(Additional reporting by Dagmara Leskowicz, editing by Barry Moody/Mark Heinrich)


Vatican commission clears John Paul II for sainthood, may be canonized with John XXIII

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Report and Image: Canadian Press

By Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press

VATICAN CITY – Pope John Paul II has cleared the final obstacle before being made a saint, awaiting just the final approval from Pope Francis and a date for the ceremony that could come as soon as Dec. 8, a Vatican official and news reports said Tuesday.

The ANSA news agency reported that a commission of cardinals and bishops met Tuesday to consider John Paul’s case and signed off on it. A Vatican official confirmed that the decision had been taken some time back and that Tuesday’s meeting was essentially a formality.

One possible canonization date is Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a major feast day for the Catholic Church. This year the feast coincidentally falls on a Sunday, which is when canonizations usually occur.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized by the church to discuss saint-making cases on the record, confirmed reports in La Stampa newspaper that John Paul could be canonized together with Pope John XXIII, who called the Second Vatican Council but died in 1963 before it was finished.

There is reasoned precedent for beatifying or canonizing two popes together, primarily to balance one another out.

John Paul has been on the fast track for possible sainthood ever since his 2005 death, but there remains some concern that the process has been too quick. Some of the Holy See’s deep-seated problems — clerical sex abuse, dysfunctional governance and more recently the financial scandals at the Vatican bank — essentially date from shortcomings of his pontificate.

Defenders of the fast-track process argue that people are canonized, not pontificates.

But the Vatican in the past has sought to balance concerns about papal saints by giving two the honour at the same time. Such was the case in 2000, when John Paul beatified John XXIII, dubbed the “good pope,” alongside Pope Pius IX, who was criticized by Jews for condoning the seizure of a Jewish boy and allegedly referring to Jews as dogs.

By canonizing John Paul II along with John XXIII, the Vatican could be seeking to assuage concerns about John Paul’s fast-track sainthood case by tying it together with the 50-year wait John XXIII has had to endure.

Many Poles have been awaiting the final steps of John Paul’s progress, which has been pushed for by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Polish pope’s longtime private secretary.

“We should be very happy if it is confirmed,” Dziwisz’s spokesman, the Rev. Robert Necek told Polish TVN24 television. “This is the next and the last step towards canonization. It will be presented to Pope Francis and the pope will take the appropriate decision.”

During John Paul’s 2005 funeral Mass, chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” erupted in St. Peter’s Square. Heeding the calls, then-Pope Benedict XVI waived the typical five-year waiting period and allowed an investigation into John Paul’s life to begin immediately. The investigation determined that the beloved Polish-born pope lived a virtuous life, the first step in the sainthood process.

Subsequently, the Vatican determined that a French nun who prayed for his intercession was miraculously cured of Parkinson’s disease. A second miracle is needed for canonization. The Vatican hasn’t divulged any details about that second purported miracle.

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Monika Scislowska contributed from Warsaw.


Second Miracle Attributed to Pope John Paul II; Set for Fastest Sainthood in Modern History

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By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter
June 19, 2013|7:55 pm

Pope John Paul II, The popular Polish pope who served from 1978 until his death in 2005, has had a second miracle attributed to his name, setting him on course toward the fastest canonization in modern Roman Catholic Church history.

The Vatican Insider reported on Tuesday that doctors and a commission of theologians agreed to attribute a second miracle to his name, meaning that now the final step for Pope John Paul II to become a saint is for cardinals and bishops to agree on the decision.

The miracle is the healing of a Costa Rican woman, who suffered from severe brain damage before she had an “inexplicable recovery.” According to The Independent, Italian newspaper Il Giornale quoted Vatican officials who claimed that a double miracle had actually been performed, because not only was the woman healed, but the faith of her family had been restored.

While the Vatican has yet to release the full details behind the case, the miracle supposedly occurred in May 2011, the day of John Paul II’s beatification.

The first miracle attributed to the pontiff, which led to his beatification, concerned another healing –a French nun who recovered from Parkinson’s disease in 2005. Sister Marie Simon-Pierre had said that her illness suddenly vanished when her order started praying on her behalf, and she wrote down Pope John Paul II’s name on a piece of paper.

The 2005 miracle left the pope only steps away from sainthood, and if in the coming weeks the Congregation for the Causes of Saints’ commission of cardinals and bishops verifies this reported second miracle, he will become the fastest saint to be recognized by the Church in its modern history, just eight years following his death.

The Atlantic Wire reminded readers that up until this point, the person to go through the quickest path to sainthood was Josemaria Escriva, the Spanish priest who founded Opus Dei, canonized 27 years after his death by Pope John Paul II himself.

Canonizations were a regular event during the Polish pope’s reign. He proclaimed 482 saints which is more than during the leadership of the previous 17 popes put together.

While Pope John Paul II’s canonization is not yet set in stone, The Insider speculated that the fast process suggests that the current pope, Francis, is also in favor of the proposed sainthood.

 


The Hands of the Mother

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Grace …

For many years now Mother Teresa has been a staple in my prayers and meditation. When I turned ten years, my two year medallion was gold dipped and engraved with the words: “I Thirst.”

From her Memoirs – Come Be My Light where she talks about Thirsting for Jesus as he thirsted from the cross.

That same week I got my first tattoo. Those same words, “I Thirst” translated into Hebrew. And is now on my arm.

This weekend we heard a woman speak at the Dorval Round Up.

And this woman, walked, talked, worked and lived with Mother Teresa. And in the end she was asked to testify for the Beatification of Mother Teresa.

At the end of her share on Saturday night, I stood in line and I grasped her hands and thanked her graciously. We all did.

And tonight it is a Pivotal Moment in my sobriety. After all my prayers, adoration and love Mother came to me, and to us.

We touched the hands of the woman who touched the hands of Mother Teresa.

She has come full circle.

I will never be the same man from here on out.


The Burning …

Courtesy: I’ll be the sun …

Last night I came home from the meeting after talking to my sponsor and I had a lot to think about, and I was encouraged not to make any decisions right away about what I wanted to do with “the letter.”

I watched Oprah’s Life Class last night, “Joy Rising…” I just needed something good for my soul and to forget the pain that was in my heart for an hour. After that I tuned in some Military Channel and 2 docs on WW I.

It will be on my final exam for my Western Civ class so I thought maybe I should watch them. But there are so many parties involved in the Great War and the assassination that started the whole deal. I am not sure how one would approach the essay on this topic.

I got to bed after 3:30 in the morning. Forgetting that CJAD goes off topic from Coast to Coast at 3 am in opt for those infomercial vitamin specials. I usually pipe in AM 640 Toronto from the computer, but last night it slipped my mind.

I got into bed and curled up with a good book. Come be my Light, the Mother Teresa evidence for canonization.

I had started reading the book when I first got it, and about three quarters way through it, I wanted to throw it against the wall because she made me so angry. So I put the book down. And put it back on the shelf. I only picked it back up the other night and finished the read through, so I thought I would start reading it again from the beginning since I am in a righter mind to accept the message.

And with all that’s going on in  my head, I hear Mother Teresa saying to me that I have to give it all to Jesus, my life, my love, my suffering and my happiness and joy. Just give it all over, because Jesus suffered so much for us, that we should be united with him on the cross…

Just what I needed to hear at this point in my sobriety.

Family …

I was born to a 60’s couple of mixed background in the Northeast U.S. in a bastion of ultra conservative Catholic parishes. After my brother was born my mother had a tubiligation and was ex-communicated from the church because it was birth control. Doctors said she couldn’t have any more kids, so let’s tie the tubes shall we… It’s a good thing there were only 2 of us.

I was baptized and given a name. A name that wasn’t mine to begin with. He was a soldier who fought with my father in Viet Nam. He was killed and my father was never the same. I am making this all up from my lifetime’s observations and studies of the gay man, and the self hating gay man.

My father came away from that war with secrets. I am sure of it today.

Everything I learned about being gay as a kid, came directly from my father’s bathroom reading material and the collection of magazines he had hid in the garage. Thanks to a little snooping on my part I had enough reading material to last me months and months.

If my father was totally straight, and totally Catholic by the book, hell, fire, and damnation, why was he exploring variations ???

When my father began to heavily abuse me after drinking himself into a stupor he would recite this mantra with every swing of the belt … “You were a mistake and should never have been born…” This went on for almost twenty years.

I was supposed to carry a name of a dead soldier that had something to do with my father emotionally, and he was beating me, in the name of the man he named me after, what was going on in his head?

1. Was he in the closet and hating the man who died?

2. Was he beating me to exorcise his own demons?

3. Was he just an angry man all around?

4. Or was he just beating me to beat me?

When I turned 30, I was sick as a dog, and frequented my death bed. That was only four years into my AIDS diagnosis. I was still suffering in big ways. I had not leveled out yet. And I knew my parents were not on board. None of my immediate family was on board.

I sat in my living room one night watching tv, and I was reading my bible listening to Pearl Jam and it all happened just like that.

Jeremy’s Spoken …

I knew that had I died my family would have swooped in and taken my body and my life and condemned my eternity to some slum burial in some backwater graveyard without proper identity and recognition. It would have been as if I had not existed at all. I was dead, who would know any better ?

So I went to court and legally changed my name. To keep them from ever having any part in my care or burial. I had legally divorced my family out of my life. But that decision took on a life of its own.

So to date I was (1.)  Gay (2.)  HIV + (3.)  Legally changing my name.

I had nailed three nails in my proverbial casket…

It took me all these years to work out what it all meant.

It wasn’t my fault.

When people show you who they are the first time, believe them. I needed this realization 20 years earlier.

When I changed my name, in essence, my father’s beating mantra of “You were a mistake and should never have been born” became a self fulfilling prophecy. I had killed that boy, he wanted dead when I was growing up. I had given him the very thing he wanted so much himself.

Even though I tried to be the good son, there was no way I was ever going to make a dent in the damnation that I was facing from the very beginning. They were set in their ways. And I wasn’t going to change them no matter how hard I tried. Once I sealed the deal, it was done for me.

And it took me till today to make this connection for myself.

I have been waiting for lightening to strike. A miracle to happen. And like I said last night, sometimes the miracle comes from a direction you didn’t expect.

My prayers to Blessed John Paul II and to Mother Teresa were answered.

Long ago. In a universe far far away, I once prayed for my father’s death. I prayed that prayer for years. Waiting for God to smite him. So that I could ride in on my white horse and save my mother and reclaim her for myself. This before any of these changes took place. I was sick and had no where to go, and I assumed that if the old man was dead, I could move to Sarasota and take on my mother’s care as my life’s work. Ever the savior !!!

He didn’t die. I went on with my life. And here we are today.

Coming to Canada was the final nail in my coffin. I had spit on the heritage of my bleeding deacon U.S.A. war veteran father. How dare I cross the border and take my mother’s heritage? Because when he imported her she had to forswear her origins and deny her roots. She didn’t complete that task until 1974. Both my brother and myself were born with birthright Canadian Citizenship, because mum was still technically, Canadian.

Tonight after some prayer and meditation, I took that letter I wrote to them and placed in my fire can on my balcony, and I burned the letter and flushed the ashes down the toilet.

As far as I am concerned this issue is finished. I cannot change them. It is not my fault. And in the end I learned a few lessons that took almost half my life.

And some say sobriety is a cake walk … NOT !!! 23 days …


Fallout …

Courtesy: Suitep

What an incredible few days it has been, on many fronts. What a weekend it was for Mr. President. A very gutsy man with balls of steel and a resolve just the same. Who knew from Adam what was going on in his head over the weekend seeing him traveling in the U.S. and yukking it up at the Correspondents dinner on Saturday night.

And who knew what Sunday would bring … I just cannot imagine.

I am sure that Mr. Obama’s stock has risen over the past few days. This kill shot was something that I think will translate into better numbers and even help him in the long run for re-election. At least I hope that is what happens. That’s all we need is for some jamokey republican asshole to win an election, God forbid.

At this point I think the White House is channeling some Ricky Ricardo when he says to Lucy “You got some ‘splainin to do!” Pakistan is not going to skate away with this gigantic intelligence flub. Someone was protecting Osama. Someone must have known he was there, I mean it’s pretty clear from all the information that has been released about this event.

*** *** *** ***

We have had a Royal Wedding, The beatification of John Paul II in Rome, the killing of Osama bin Laden and an election here in Canada. The fallout from the election is huge. The Orange wave came to Quebec and took the province by storm. There were incredible losses for the Bloq. The Bloq leader lost his seat in an upset, and in the end resigned from his position as party leader, not to mention the Bloq lost party status in the House of Parliament. You must have at least 12 seats to be afforded party status, and the Bloq lost in a bloodbath last night. So the Bloq is all but kaput. So much for that referendum.

Mr. Layton won a huge number of ridings here in Quebec. Many freshman young M.P’s are going to Ottawa, and we are so proud of the huge wins by the NDP. Not to mention with 102 seats won, for the first time in history the NDP wins the coveted title of Official Opposition Party in the commons. I mean the room went nuts when Jack Layton walked out to greet the party. My vote made a difference.

The Conservatives won a majority. As I have read on other blogs tonight, the earth did not shift on its axis, we will all survive this. And in the end we hope the government does what it said it will do. Canada needs to work to protect the people of Canada, we need more jobs, a secure financial sector and we need to solidify our place in the worlds eyes.

I questioned the ability of Mr. Ignatieff to win anything that’s why a lot of voters went with Jack. The Liberal party was decimated last night. The leader of the party as well, lost his seat and resigned from the party this morning. A leadership convention is coming. There is rumbling about Justin Trudeau, can he step up, if he is tapped as the heir apparent? Can the magic happen? Justin won’t say what he is going to do to that end just yet. At least he won his riding for the Liberal party, beating out the Bloq incumbent.

We saw history happen last night. The total collapse of the Bloq and the Liberal party. I heard it mentioned on the news coverage about Canada moving towards a two party system in Parliament. It seems the voters were over all the drama and political bullshit and we all voted for change and hope. The voters have spoken. Now the parties MUST rise to the occasion and do what they have been mandated to do.

A good chunk of Quebec went orange, with hints of red and blue here and there. Mr. Layton’s crop of young bloods have got some serious shoes to fill.

So much to look forwards to in the coming months.

*** *** *** ***

Here on the home front we are in the final weeks of classes. I have class tomorrow night and then a final and essay due on Thursday night, which I still have to write yet, then my final interview to come next week on the 9th.

It rained today. But numbers were nominal for the meeting. Lots of new faces and the conversation was nice and lively. We are pleased with what we have for today.

*** *** *** ***

So what do we know ???

  1. The Princess got her man
  2. Obama got Osama
  3. The NDP won big in Canada

Life goes on and we will all survive. The world is a safer place because the face and person of evil is dead and is floating at the bottom of the Arabian Sea, Thanks be to God.

The era of Osama is over.

Well Done Mr. President. We are so very proud of you…


Pope beatifies John Paul II before a crowd of over 1 million, tears and cheers erupt

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI beatified Pope John Paul II before more than a million faithful in St. Peter’s Square and surrounding streets Sunday, moving the beloved former pontiff one step closer to possible sainthood.

The crowd in Rome and in capitals around the world erupted in cheers, tears and applause as an enormous photo of a young, smiling John Paul was unveiled over the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica and a choir launched into hymn long associated with the Polish-born pope.

“He restored to Christianity its true face as a religion of hope,” Benedict said in his homily, which was dotted with personal recollections of a man Benedict said he came to “revere” during their near-quarter century working together.

Beatification is the first major milestone on the path to possible sainthood, one of the Catholic Church’s highest honours. A second miracle attributed to John Paul’s intercession is needed for him to be canonized.

The beatification, the fastest in modern times, is a morale boost for a church scarred by the sex abuse crisis, but it has also triggered a new wave of anger from victims because the scandal occurred under John Paul’s 27-year watch.

Police placed wide swaths of Rome even miles (kilometres) from the Vatican off limits to private cars to ensure security for the estimated 16 heads of state, seven prime ministers and five members of European royal houses attending.

Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia, wearing a black lace mantilla, mingled with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, Poland’s historic Solidarity leader and former President Lech Walesa and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who sidestepped an EU travel ban to attend.

“He went all over the world,” said Bishop Jean Zerbo of Bamako, Mali, who came to Rome for the ceremony. “Today, we’re coming to him.”

Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood when he dispensed with the traditional five-year waiting period and allowed the beatification process to begin weeks after his April 2, 2005, death. Benedict was responding to chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Immediately” which erupted during John Paul’s funeral.

On Sunday, a group of pilgrims from Krakow affixed a banner to a fence outside the square that says “Santo Subito,” evidence that for many of the faithful, John Paul already is a saint.

“John Paul was a wonderful man and it’s a privilege to be here. It’s wonderful to see people from all across the world,” said Anne Honiball, 48, a nursing home administrator from Worthing, England who carried a small Union Jack flag.

“We missed the royal wedding but we are Catholics and this was a bit more important, I suppose,” said Honibal, a former Protestant who converted to Catholicism 10 years ago.

Around the world, Catholics celebrated the beatification, jamming churches from Mexico to Australia to pray and watch broadcasts of the Rome Mass on television.

“He was a model and an inspiration who united the world with his extraordinary charisma,” said John Paul Bustillo, a 16-year-old medical student named after the pontiff who turned out Sunday along with more than 3,000 for a six-mile (10-kilometre) race followed by a Mass near Manila Bay in the Philippines.

In John Paul’s native Poland, tens of thousands of people gathered in rain in a major sanctuary in Krakow and in Wadowice, where the pontiff was born in 1920 as Karol Wojtyla. Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his wife Malgorzata watched the ceremony together with Wadowice residents.

“I wonder what we would have been like and what would not have happened if we had not had our pope,” the PAP agency quoted Tusk as saying. “All that good that we all have received is still working.”

Speaking in Latin, Benedict pronounced John Paul “Blessed” shortly after the start of the Mass, held under bright blue skies and amid a sea of Poland’s red and white flags — a scene reminiscent of John Paul’s 2005 funeral, when some 3 million people paid homage to the pope.

Benedict recalled that day six years ago, saying the grief the world felt then was tempered by immense gratitude for his life and pontificate.

“Even then, we perceived the fragrance of his sanctity,” Benedict said, explaining the “reasonable haste” with which John Paul was being honoured.

Benedict said that through John Paul’s faith, courage and strength — “the strength of a titan, a strength which came to him from God” — John Paul had turned back the seemingly “irreversible” tide of Marxism.

“He rightly reclaimed for Christianity that impulse of hope which had in some sense faltered before Marxism and the ideology of progress,” Benedict said.

Police, government officials and the Vatican all put the figure of those attending the Mass at over a million; only a few hundred thousand could fit into St. Peter’s Square and the surrounding streets but others watched it on some of the 14 huge TV screens set up around town or listened to it on radios in Polish or Italian.

“I am disappointed but also happy to be here for the atmosphere,” said Boleslaw Wisniewski, 83, who came with five members of his family by bus from Warsaw. He stood listening to the music drifting over the packed crowd, but could see nothing.

“He’s our holy father — a Pole — and we are proud,” he said.

During the Mass, Benedict received a silver reliquary holding a vial of blood taken from John Paul during his final hosptalization. The relic, a key feature of beatification ceremonies, will be available for the faithful to venerate.

It was presented to him by Sister Tobiana, the Polish nun who tended to John Paul throughout his pontificate, and Sister Marie Simone-Pierre of France, whose inexplicable recovery from Parkinson’s disease was decreed to be the miracle necessary for John Paul to be beatified.

Helicopters flew overhead, police boats patrolled the nearby Tiber River and some 5,000 uniformed troops patrolled police barricades to ensure priests, official delegations and those with coveted VIP passes could get to their places.

Thousands of pilgrims, many of them from John Paul’s native Poland, spent the night in sleeping bags on bridges and in piazzas around town, and then packed St. Peter’s as soon as the barricades opened over an hour in advance because the crowds were too great.

They stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the main boulevard leading to the Vatican, Via della Conciliazione, as well as on side streets around it and the bridges crossing the Tiber leading to St. Peter’s.

It’s the fastest beatification on record, coming just six years after John Paul died and beating out the beatification of Mother Teresa by a few days.

The beatification ceremonies kicked off officially with a all-night prayer vigil that began on Rome’s ancient Circus Maximus field and continued as pilgrims spent the night moving around eight churches that stayed open all night, a “white night” of prayer in honour of the late pope.

“The weather is mild and so it will not be a problem to pass the night here, and there is also a very nice atmosphere,” said Pauline Rosenfeld, a 20-year-old pilgrim from Paris sitting with friends in her sleeping bag gearing up for a night spent outdoors.

The beatification is taking place despite a drumbeat of criticism about the record speed with which John Paul is being honoured, and continued outrage about clerical abuse: Many of the crimes and coverups of priests who raped children occurred on John Paul’s 27-year watch.

Vatican officials have insisted that John Paul deserves beatification despite the fallout from the abuse scandal, saying the saint-making process isn’t a judgment of how he administered the church but rather whether he lived a life of Christian virtue.

But victims’ groups such as the U.S. Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests have said the speedy beatification was just “rubbing more salt in these wounds” of victims.

Rome itself seemed invaded by Poles overjoyed that their native son was being honoured. Special trains, planes and buses shuttled Poles in for the beatification.

Anna Fotyga, a former Polish foreign minister and member of Poland’s parliament, arrived on a special train Sunday morning carrying the Polish parliamentary delegation. She reminisced about John Paul’s impact on communist Poland in the late 1970s and 80s.

“I was a student at that time, and actually seeing him, listening to him started transformation in Poland, I am sure,” she said.

___

Associated Press writer Daniela Petroff contributed.


Blessed Johannes Paulus II – Celibratione a la Vaticano


Thousands jam St. Peter’s for beatification of John Paul, celebration to boost scarred church


Huge crowds descend on Vatican for Beatification.

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of people converged on St Peter’s Square in one of the biggest crowds ever seen at the Vatican on Sunday to participate in the beatification of Pope John Paul II.

Streams of people some 30 wide moved toward the Vatican area from all directions from before dawn to get a good spot for the Mass where Pope Benedict was to move his predecessor a step closer to sainthood.

The crowd of people, some carrying national flags and singing songs, was the largest seen in the capital since millions turned out for his funeral six years ago.

Many pilgrims camped out during the night. The entire Vatican area was sealed off as stewards marshaled the huge crowd toward St Peter’s Basilica, which was bedecked with posters and photos of the late pope.

Up to 200,000 people attended a prayer vigil on Saturday evening in the Circus Maximus, the huge oval once used by the ancient Romans for chariot races. Some Rome churches threw their doors open all night to give pilgrims a space to pray.

At the mass due to start at 0800 GMT Benedict will pronounce a Latin formula proclaiming one of the most popular popes in history a “blessed” of the Church.

A place of honor is reserved for Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, a French nun who suffered from Parkinson’s disease but whose inexplicable cure has been attributed to John Paul’s intercession with God to perform a miracle, thus permitting the beatification to go ahead.

The Vatican will have to attribute another miracle to John Paul’s intercession after the beatification in order for him to be declared a saint.

Some 90 official delegations from around the world, including members of five European royal families and 16 heads of state, will attend the beatification.

They include Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has been widely criticized for human rights abuses in his country. Mugabe is banned from traveling to the European Union, but the Vatican — a sovereign state — is not a member of the bloc.

COFFIN ON DISPLAY

Pope John Paul’s coffin was exhumed on Friday from the crypts below St Peter’s Basilica and will be placed in front of the main altar. After Sunday’s beatification mass, it will remain there and the basilica will remain open until all visitors who want to view it have done so.

It will then be moved to a new crypt under an altar in a side chapel near Michelangelo’s statue of the Pieta. The marble slab that covered his first burial place will be sent to Poland.

John Paul’s beatification has set a new speed record for modern times, taking place six years and one month after his death on April 2, 2005.

While the overwhelming number of Catholics welcome it, a minority are opposed, with some saying it happened too fast.

Liberals in the church say John Paul was too harsh with theological dissenters who wanted to help the poor, particularly in Latin America. Some say John Paul should be held ultimately responsible for the sexual abuse scandals because they occurred or came to light when he was in charge.

Ultra-Conservatives say he was too open toward other religions and that he allowed the liturgy to be “infected” by local cultures, such as African dancing, on his trips abroad.

The pope is being beatified on the day the Church celebrates the movable Feast of Divine Mercy, which this year happens to fall on May 1, the most important feast in the communist world.

The coincidence is ironic, given that many believe the pope played a key role in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

*** *** *** ***

VATICAN CITY – Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims jammed St. Peter’s Square and the streets around it Sunday for the beatification of Pope John Paul II, a joyful celebration to honour one of the best loved popes and a morale boost for a church scarred by the priestly sex abuse scandal.

The scene at dawn around the Vatican was reminiscent of John Paul’s final days in 2005, when some 3 million people staged around-the-clock vigils underneath his studio window and then paid their final respects once he had died.

On Sunday, the mood was ebullient: nuns sat in circles playing guitars and singing hymns, fathers hoisted their children on their shoulders so they could see above the masses, scouts and young Catholic groups toted flags from Poland, France, Britain and Argentina.

“He went all over the world,” said Bishop Jean Zerbo of Bamako, Mali, who came to Rome for the ceremony. “Today, we’re coming to him.”

Security was tight, with wide areas of Rome even miles (kilometres) from the Vatican off limits to private cars, helicopters flying overhead, police boats in the nearby Tiber River and some 5,000 uniformed troops patrolling police barricades to ensure priests, official delegations and those with coveted VIP passes could get to their places.

Thousands of pilgrims, many of them from John Paul’s native Poland, spent the night in sleeping bags on bridges and in piazzas around town, and then packed St. Peter’s as soon as the barricades opened over an hour in advance because the crowds were too great.

They stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the main boulevard leading to the Vatican, Via della Conciliazione, as well as on side streets around it and the bridges crossing the Tiber leading to St. Peter’s, where Pope Benedict XVI was to celebrate the beatification Mass at 0800 GMT (4 a.m. EDT).

“I’m very proud of John Paul. He was my pope when I was growing up,” said Alice Wirwicka, a 21-year-old from Szczecin, Poland, who travelled 17 hours by bus for the beatification. She was standing on line to get into the square along with friends toting Solidarity banners in honour of the Polish-born pope credited with helping bring down communism.

It’s the fastest beatification on record, coming just six years after John Paul died.

Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood when he dispensed with the traditional five-year waiting period and allowed the beatification process to begin weeks after his April 2, 2005, death. Benedict was responding to chants of “Santo Subito” or “Sainthood Immediately” which erupted during John Paul’s funeral.

On Saturday night, a “Santo Subito” banner was emblazoned on the side of the Circus Maximus field, where an all-night prayer vigil kicked off the beatification celebrations in earnest. The event featured testimony of the French nun whose inexplicable cure from Parkinson’s disease was deemed miraculous by the Vatican, the miracle needed for John Paul to be beatified.

“He died a saint,” Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, John Paul’s longtime secretary, told the crowd.

After the vigil officially ended, many pilgrims spent the night moving around the centre visiting eight churches that stayed open all night, a “white night” of prayer in honour of the late pope.

“The weather is mild and so it will not be a problem to pass the night here, and there is also a very nice atmosphere,” said Pauline Rosenfeld, a 20-year-old pilgrim from Paris sitting with friends in her sleeping bag gearing up for a night spent outdoors.

The beatification is taking place despite a steady drumbeat of criticism about the record-fast speed with which John Paul is being honoured, and continued outrage about clerical abuse: Many of the crimes and coverups of priests who raped children occurred on John Paul’s 27-year watch.

“I hope he didn’t know about the pedophiles,” said Sister Maria Luisa Garcia, a Spanish nun attending the vigil. “If he did, it was an error. But no one is perfect, only God.”

At the very least, she said, the church has learned as a result of the scandal, “that a person’s dignity, especially a child’s, is more important than the church’s image.”

Video montages used during the vigil showed various scenes of John Paul’s lengthy pontificate, his teachings about marriage and justice. One of the first shown was of his final Easter, when he was unable to speak from his studio window, too hobbled by Parkinson’s, and only managed a weak blessing of the crowd.

Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, the French nun cured of Parkinson’s, said that at the time she couldn’t bear to watch John Paul’s condition worsen because she knew his slow decline would be her fate.

“In him, I was reminded of what I was living through,” she told the crowd. “But I always admired his humility, his strength, his courage.”

Wearing her simple white habit and a black cardigan, she recounted to the crowd her now well-known tale: She said that on June 2, 2005, she told her superior she felt she could no longer continue her work helping new mothers because her Parkinson’s symptoms had worsened and she had little strength left.

Her superior, she said, told her that “John Paul II hasn’t had the last word” and that she should pray.

She said she woke up the following morning “feeling something had changed in me.” She said she went to the chapel and prayed. “I wasn’t the same. I knew I had been cured.”

The Vatican’s complicated saint-making procedures require that a miracle attributed to the candidate’s intercession be confirmed before beatification, the first step to possible sainthood, and a second one for canonization.

The crowd on the Circus Maximus had the feel of a World Youth Day, the event once every three years John Paul launched to energize young Catholics that became a hallmark of his pontificate. Groups of young people danced and sang, many carrying backpacks and sleeping bags in preparation for a night to be spent outdoors.

Rome itself seemed invaded by Poles overjoyed that their native son was being honoured. Special trains, planes and buses shuttled Poles in for the beatification, which was drawing some 16 heads of state and five members of European royal houses.

Anna Fotyga, a former Polish foreign minister and member of Poland’s parliament, arrived on a special train Sunday morning carrying the Polish parliamentary delegation. She reminisced about John Paul’s impact on communist Poland in the late 1970s and 80s.

“I was a student at that time, and actually seeing him, listening to him started transformation in Poland, I am sure,” she said.

In Krakow, where John Paul was archbishop, two TV screens at two different sites were set up to broadcast the beatification ceremony Sunday from Rome. Houses were decorated with Poland’s white-and-red flags and the Vatican’s white-and-yellow colours.

The vigil featured televised hookups from five Marian shrines in Krakow, Mexico, Tanzania, Portugal and Lebanon, where the faithful were also celebrating.

Thousands of Mexicans held a prayer vigil in Mexico City’s Virgen of Guadalupe Basilica on Saturday while two large screens inside the church projected the celebrations in Rome.

Jorge Lopez Barcenas, a 70-year-old painter and body shop worker, travelled from central Hidalgo state to witness the beatification from the Basilica.

“He was a person who elevated the faith,” said Lopez, who saw the pope during two of his five visits to the country.

On Saturday night, dozens of mainly young people gathered at the Basilica to wait overnight for the culmination of John Paul II’s beatification.

Michelle Lopez, 19, said she first saw John Paul II from a distance as a girl during his 1999 visit and he has been an important figure in her life ever since.

“He looked like a small porcelain doll, very nice,” she said. “He is like a saint to us.”

In the Dominican Republic, members of the Santo Domingo youth pastoral prepared for a midnight Saturday vigil to remember John Paul II and watch the beatification ceremony on giant television screen.

Vatican officials have insisted that John Paul deserves beatification despite the fallout from the abuse scandal, saying the saint-making process isn’t a judgment of how he administered the church but rather whether he lived a life of Christian virtue.

But victims’ groups such as the U.S. Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests have said the speedy beatification was just “rubbing more salt in these wounds” of victims.

___

Associated Press writers Daniela Petroff and Alba Tobella in Rome, E. Eduardo Castillo in Mexico City and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw contributed to this report.


Rome …

So I guess I’ve been a little MIA. I haven’t had the desire to write much and the prompts we’ve been getting just bore me to tears.

But it is snowing at this hour. Environment Canada says 5 to 10 cm. Nice, just what we need is more snow. Oh well, at least I don’t have to go out in it.

Feast your eyes upon the great Airbus A-380.

I can’t get enough of it. I read a blog written by an airline pilot in the U.S. and he had a video up of a 737-800 take off and I was hooked. Then the other night I was farting around on You Tube and found collections of videos of the A-380 from all over the world. So that’s what I’ve been up to as of late.

I’ve been floating the idea in my head of going to Rome for the Beatification of John Paul II the end of April. It would be a weekend event. I was trolling Travelocity’s Website today and flights are not cheap.

A regular flight across the pond will run me $980.00 round trip. I even looked into flights across the Atlantic on an airline that flies the A-380, since I am on the topic, and those flights run $1900.00 round trip. Alitalia and Air France fly the jet transatlantic in both directions, which bumps up the airfare quite a bit. One goes through London, the other through Charles de Gaul in Paris.

From the videos I gather that the planes are pristine, beautiful and sleek. I saw videos from Emirates Air, Singapore Airlines, British Airways and Air France and Alitalia. It is quite the experience.

Add to that a hostel for 2 nights at $480.00 ca and I’ve spent a pretty penny on a papal mass at the Vatican. I don’t know if I can justify the spending to hubby. It’s not like we are awash in money or anything like that, but it was a thought.

I did my homework. I know how much it’s gonna run. The mass isn’t on the Vatican website yet. The schedule only goes through April. But we know from the announcement that I posted last week was for May the 1st.

I have to find a way to bring up the topic gingerly. After watching all those airline videos, I am in the mood to take a trip somewhere, so why not make it count if I get the chance? You only live once.

Other than that, it was an uneventful week. Wednesday we had that snow storm and there was snow all over the place, so I skipped class because I didn’t feel like walking to school in the middle of a snow blow.

Thursday we had class and it went well. We are reading Plato. Fun !!!

Friday I slept in and farted around on the interwebs. Hubby has been keeping himself busy going here and there. He went to visit a friend this evening and now he has to walk home in the middle of a snow blow.

So we’ll see how this all plays out in the coming weeks.

More to come, stay tuned…


Friday Finking …

Courtesy: Untiltheacropolis

It was a quiet day. The news of the beatification comes soon after I finished reading the canonization report written about the investigation into his beatification.”Why he is a Saint” was an enlightening read.

Good news for those of us who are Vatican watchers. I wish I could plan to be in Rome in May, that would be amazing. Maybe… we shall see what’s possible.

This was like any other Friday. Although tonight I got a call from Rick asking if I wanted to hit a meeting tonight, and we got over to Wesley United for the 8 p.m. speaker meeting. It’s a double share, a 10 min quickie and a 40 minute main speaker.

Listening to the speakers tonight reminds me of why it is important to get to meetings whenever possible, even with time under my belt. Hearing new people speak, and listening to an old timer at the same meeting gives perspective.

Tomorrow gives another chance to get to a meeting in Verdun. I’m still on vacation until the 19th, so I can get out and about during the weekend. There is definite snow in the forecast for tomorrow. A little dusting, nothing major.

Rome is looking for another miracle. Let’s hope they find it. There are plenty of people lined up to give testimony about the late Pontiff.

More to come, stay tuned…


Vatican prepares to move pope John Paul’s body: Report

VATICAN CITY – Works are underway in St. Peter’s Basilica to make space for Pope John Paul II’s tomb following his expected beatification this year, the religious news agency imedia reported on Thursday.

Preparations are being made in the Chapel of St. Sebastian, on the right-hand side of the nave, between the Chapel of Michelangelo’s Pieta and the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament, the French agency said.

According to tradition, the remains of popes who are beatified are moved up from the crypt to the nave of the basilica, the agency added.

Italian media have reported Pope Benedict XVI is likely to sign a decree on Friday at the earliest authorizing the beatification of the Polish pontiff, who died aged 84 on April 2, 2005 after 27 years as pope.

On Wednesday, the Congregation of the Causes for Saints approved John Paul’s first miracle, a key step on the path to beatification.

The commission confirmed that French nun Marie Simon-Pierre was miraculously cured of Parkinson’s disease through the intercession of the Polish pope, who also suffered from Parkinson’s.

Italian media have suggested two possible dates for the beatification ceremony: Sunday April 3, the day after the sixth anniversary of John Paul’s death, and Sunday October 16, the day he was elected pope.

The process of canonising John Paul kicked off immediately after his death. Banners waved in St Peter’s Square during his funeral in 2005 read “Santo Subito!” (Sainthood Now!)

Once the ex-pontiff is beatified, one more miracle will be needed to achieve full sainthood.


Pope John Paul II will be beatified after Easter

By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times

MANCHESTER, England – The late Pope John Paul II will be beatified this spring, the Vatican announced Friday after the current pontiff, Benedict XVI, certified that his predecessor had met the requirements.

The move puts the former pope a step closer to sainthood on what is already an unusually accelerated timetable that Benedict launched within weeks of John Paul’s death almost six years ago.

The Vatican said Benedict had approved findings by the church that John Paul had performed a miracle after his death, a prerequisite for beatification. A nun who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, as did the late pope, said she was healed of her affliction after praying to John Paul soon after he died.

The beatification is to take place May 1, the first Sunday after Easter, the Vatican said.

The decision to elevate John Paul, who inspired millions worldwide with his tough stance against communism and his resilience after a 1981 assassination attempt, is a spot of good news for the Roman Catholic Church, which has been battered by countless allegations of sexual abuse by priests, nuns and other religious workers.

Many of those acts of abuse were alleged to have occurred during John Paul’s 27-year papacy. But much of the blame for the church’s slow and largely defensive response to the complaints has now shifted to today’s Vatican.

After John Paul’s death on April 2, 2005, mourners and pilgrims at his funeral in St. Peter’s Square waved signs calling for “sainthood right now,” in a mark of their devotion. Weeks later, Benedict said he would immediately open the process leading to canonization, overriding rules that dictate a five-year wait after a person dies.

At the end of 2009, Benedict gave formal recognition of John Paul’s “heroic virtues” and granted him the title of “venerable.” After his beatification, the late pontiff will be known as “blessed.”

For sainthood, a second confirmed miracle is required.

Reports surfaced last year that at least some church investigators were doubtful of claims by Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, a French nun, to have been cured of Parkinson’s through John Paul’s intercession.

But the panel overseeing such investigations concluded that the nun’s recovery from the degenerative disease had no other explanation _ in other words, that it was a genuine miracle.

Although accelerated procedures toward sainthood are unusual, they are not without precedent. John Paul himself put Mother Teresa on the fast track to beatification after her death in 1997. She was beatified in 2003.


Sunday Sundries …

Courtesy: Jacksockman

It’s Sunday. Snow is falling. And it is bitterly cold out. But today I made it a point of getting out of the house for a little while. I haven’t been to a meeting since Tuesday night. Friday night was a bust because everyone was busy doing other things so we didn’t get out to Chateauguay like we wanted to.

It has been a quiet week. The other night hubby decided that he would go to the gym, and I tried to warn him off of going, because I didn’t have a good feeling about it. A few hours later he called to tell me that his locker and a few others were vandalized and they took his wallet and his keys. UGH !!!

So he had to cancel all his cards and get new ones. He went by a friends place to hang out and did all the calling. It was a good thing they did not find his phone – that would have been the end of the world for him. Stupid bastards …

Around 9:30 that night the gym had called because someone found his empty wallet and his keys. So that was good. I wasn’t sure if it was a targeted attack and that someone would have known where we live using his keys, but that fear was unfounded.

Tonight I headed to Sunday Nighter’s for the literature discussion meeting. We finished up the appendix and the doctors opinion on prescription drugs. That is always a hot topic for some in the meeting. Should you take drugs if they are prescribed and what is too much when it comes to sobriety.

I have to take drugs every day – to stay alive. I’ve been to militant meetings where some have said that I should not take medication at all, that I am not really sober because I rely on prescription drugs to live. I beg to differ. None of the medication I take is really addictive, and I only take what is prescribed. Along with HIV I am a type two diabetic and I take medication for that as well. I’ve never had issues with taking medication, but some do. As long as you are under a doctors care, do what is right and stay away from drugs if you don’t need them.

School starts on the 19th of the month. I am hoping that all will be well on that account. I paid my fees and I still have a week and a few days left to relax and do nothing.

Tuesday is our 53rd anniversary. Lots of people hopefully will come. We have food and goodies to serve them. I am hoping for good numbers – hopefully the blue sheets will have done their job in advertisement of the anniversary. Every group in the city gets a copy and they share the anniversaries with their respective meetings.

I finished reading John Paul II – the case for canonization, “Why he is a Saint” last night. The book was a compilation of testimonies from many sources about his life, his religiosity and his virtues. I found the book to be very enlightening. I’ve read probably every book that has been penned by him and about him. There are still a couple that I want to read that have been published, the one by his personal secretary is still on my read list. Love him or hate him, this latest collection of personal stories was very interesting and enlightening.

That’s all for now. More to come, stay tuned …