John Paul II beatification ceremony begins

May 1st, 2011 - 4:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Vatican City, May 1 (IANS) The ceremony to beatify the late Pope, John Paul II, began in front of hundreds of thousands of Catholics in Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square.

Beatification, or declaring a person to be “blessed”, is the necessary prelude to full sainthood.

The Vatican must declare the person to have performed a miracle for this to take place.

Among those at the Vatican’s St Peter’s Square is French nun Marie Simon-Pierre, who says she was cured of Parkinson’s Disease. Her apparent miraculous cure is part of the case for the beatification, the last stage before sainthood, BBC reported.

The late pontiff’s coffin has been exhumed from the crypt below St Peter’s Basilica to be placed in front of the altar.

After the Mass, it will be shifted to a different part of the basilica.

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