Pope John Paul II Inches Closer to Sainthood

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AFP/Getty Images
    LYONS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 5: Pope John Paul II blesses 05 October 1986 the crowd of 50,000 of youths gathered in Garland Stadium of Lyons. The pontiff was visiting from 04 to 07 Ocotober East and Central regions of France (it was his 31th International Pastoral visit). (Photo credit should read JEAN-CLAUDE DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images)

    Catholics from all over the world, some visiting here in New York, are extremely pleased with the latest development coming out of the Vatican.

    A move that now puts Pope John Paul II one step closer to becoming a Saint.

    "I think it's wonderful," said Nikola Kudrna of Pennsylvania.
    "I'm absolutely thrilled," said Mary Heeney of Ireland. "He was the best Pope ever!"

    Positive responses echoing from the steps of St. Patrick's Cathedral all the way to the Vatican in Rome.

    The move comes a bit earlier than expected with Pope Benedict waiving the five year period before the process normally begins - this after the miracle of a French nun who was cured of Parkinson's disease.

    "Pope Benedict has declared that it was not necessary to wait so long because the fame of sanctity of John Paul II was so wide and so strong in the church" said Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican Spokesperson.

    The nun prayed to the former Pope months after he died. The Pope, himself, suffered from Parkinson's disease.

    Proof that she has no signs of the disease and could move around freely without the help of doctors and medicine helped to elevate the Pope's status. 

    So, how does one become a Saint?

    We spoke with author "My Life With Saints" and culture editor for America Magazine James Martin - an expert on the matter.

    "The local bishop decides that they are going to start the process and they send it to Rome. They investigate and they wait for a miracle before the person is declared blessed which is where John Paul is, and then another miracle is needed before he can be called a Saint," said Martin.

    The process, however, is no easy feat.

    "You and I might say oh I got better and it's a miracle, said Martin. "But the Vatican would say where is the paperwork? The doctor's papers before hand. Their bar is very, very high and this woman passed all the test and she's cured."

    As of May 1st, the former Pope will become known as Blessed John Paul II.