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Pope John Paul To Be Beatified On May 1

Pope John Paul II in 2005

Pope John Paul II in 2005

The Vatican says Pope John Paul II is to be beatified in a ceremony on May 1.

In the Roman Catholic Church, beatification is a crucial step toward sainthood.

The Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI today approved a decree attributing a miracle to the late pontiff, paving the way for his beatification. A second miracle is needed for John Paul to be made a saint.

The May 1 ceremony to be presided by Benedict himself is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to Rome to honor the popular Polish-born pontiff.

John Paul, born Karol Wojtila, died in 2005 after a papacy of 27 years.

compiled from agency reports