A crowd of over 1 million people converged on St Peter’s Square and surrounding streets in Vatican City Sunday morning to witness the beatification of Pope John Paul II.
The crowd came from around the world to participate in the celebration led by Pope Benedict XVI.
John Paul II, who died in 2005 after 25 years as pope, was declared a “blessed,” a step under sainthood, during the special mass.
His beatification is the second last step in the process towards full canonization and is the fastest in modern times after he was put on a “fast-track” to sainthood.
An all-night prayer vigil in Rome’s Circus Maximus ahead of this morning’s mass featured testimony from the French nun at the center of the miracle needed for John Paul’s beatification.
Sister Marie Simon-Pierre says she was inexplicably cured from Parkinson’s disease after a night of prayer to the pontiff not long after his death.
Full canonization requires a second miracle, but that should not be a problem given that hundreds of faithful have already reportedly come forward with such claims.
The Mass was attended by 50 heads of government, including Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe.