Although his was one of the shortest papacies in history, Pope John Paul left a lasting impression as ‘the smiling pope’
Pope Francis recognised that Pope John Paul I, who served only 33 days as pope, lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way.
The Vatican announced Pope Francis’ decision on 9 November. It marks the first major step on the path to sainthood for the pope who died in 1978 at the age of 65, shocking the world and a church that had just mourned the death of Blessed Paul VI.
Pope Francis would have to recognise a miracle attributed to the late pope’s intercession in order for him to be beatified, the next step toward sainthood. A second miracle would be needed for canonisation.
Stefania Falasca, vice postulator of Pope John Paul’s sainthood cause, said one “presumed extraordinary healing” had already been investigated by a diocese and a second possibility is being studied, but the Vatican does not begin its investigations until a sainthood candidate is declared venerable.
More: The Tablet