Beatification set for Padre Pio
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Fulfilling the predictions of Vatican insiders, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on Monday formally approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Padre Pio, and announced that the renowned Capuchin monk and stigmatist will be beatified on May 2, 1999.
The Congregation promulgated 16 decrees, in the presence of Pope John Paul II and numerous Vatican officials. The decrees also included a formal approval of a miracle attributed to Blessed Josephine Bakhita, who lived as a slave in Sudan, and will now be canonized sometime in 1999.
The decrees announced on Monday pave the way for the canonization of 10 other new saints, and beatification of 3 other candidates in addition to Padre Pio. The Congregation also announced findings of "heroic virtue" in the lives of 30 Brazilian martyrs, 2 bishops, 3 priests, 1 monk, and 3 nuns-- all of whom will now be eligible for beatification upon the approval of a miracle attributed to their intercession.
The pending beatification of Padre Pio had been widely rumored in the Italian press, especially last week. Because of the worldwide veneration of the monk, who died in September 1968 after drawing hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to his monastery at San Giovanni Rotondo, the date for his beatification was announced well in advance. Rome is bracing for the arrival of an immense crowd for his beatification.
Coincidentally, the last crowd to overfill St. Peter's Square for beatification ceremonies came on May 17, 1992, for the beatification of Blessed Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, and of Blessed Josephine Bakhita. Although the Congregation made no mention of Msgr. Escriva in the latest decrees, Blessed Josephine was cleared for canonization-- with no date yet set for the ceremony.