The Vatican has decided to honor Pope John Paul II with the highest honor that the Roman Catholic church can bestow, sainthood. The canonization process began shortly after his death when then Pope Benedict XVI waived the standard five-year waiting period before a typical canonization process may begin.
The Catholic Church has a very specific process for canonization that requires many years of investigation and vetting. There are two general steps to the process, the first being beatification and the second and final step being canonization. Beatification is bestowed upon a candidate after a miracle is approved and attributed to the candidate by the Vatican.
Pope John Paul II was beatified in May of 2011 after Sister Marie Simone-Pierre of France was inexplicably cured of Parkinson's disease. Thousands thronged to St. Peter's Square in order to honor the beloved Polish Pope. Pope Francis has now approved the second and final miracle necessary for canonization.
Costa Rican grandmother Floribeth Mora reported being miraculously cured of her aneurysm after praying to the late pontiff. Mora reported being cured after waking up and hearing the first words the pontiff ever spoke as pope, "Be not afraid," emanating from a painting of him. Mora's neurosurgeon Alejandro Vargas claimed that there was no explanation that he could find for the miraculous cure. Vargas went on to state that there was no trace of Mora ever having an aneurysm.
This final miracle was approved by Pope Francis and rumors have been emanating from Vatican City that December 8 could be the possible date for the canonization ceremony. This date would be highly significant for Catholics in that it is the date of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a day that Catholics attribute to the Virgin Mary being conceived without sin.
Pope John Paul II was known for having an extreme devotion to the Virgin Mary, going so far as to create a new set of mysteries to the Rosary, a method of prayer that Catholics use to venerate the Virgin Mary. Pope John Paul II will be canonized alongside Pope John XXIII.