ROME (CNN) — The Roman Catholic Church will declare the late Pope John Paul II a saint, the Vatican announced Friday.
Pope Francis signed the decree Friday morning, the Vatican said. John Paul was pope from 1978 until his death in 2005, and was in a way the first rock star pontiff, drawing vast crowds as he criss-crossed the globe.
At his funeral, thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square and chanted “Santo Subito” — Sainthood Now! The Polish-born pope was fast-tracked to beatification and became “the blessed” John Paul II barely six years after his death, the fastest beatification in centuries.
Pope John XXIII, who convened the Vatican II council in the 1960s, will also be declared a saint, the Vatican said
No date has been announced for the canonization ceremony.
Pope John Paul II, the third-longest serving pope in history, died in April 2005 at the age of 84.
He had suffered from Parkinson’s disease, arthritis and other ailments for several years before his death.
During his tenure, he became the most widely traveled pope in history, and canonized more saints than any other pope.
His papacy included a lot of firsts. He was the first modern pope to visit a synagogue, and the first pope to visit Cuba.
There are essentially three steps to becoming a Catholic saint after death.
First, the title “venerable” is formally given by the pope to someone judged to have exhibited “heroic virtues.” Second, a miracle must be attributed to the deceased person’s intervention, allowing beatification. Canonization — or sainthood — requires a second attributed miracle.
In 2010, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI approved John Paul’s first reported miracle: a French nun supposedly cured of Parkinson’s disease.