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Choosing a Feast Day for John Paul II

04/07/2011 Comments (45)

Pope John Paul II is pictured in an image released March 25 by the postulation of his sainthood cause. The Polish pope, who died April 2, 2005, will be beatified May 1. (CNS photo/Grzegorz Galazka, courtesy of Postulation of Pope John Paul II)

When will be John Paul II’s feast day?

So far there’s no agreement but it’s currently the subject of discussion among senior Vatican officials.

Papal spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters this week the date will be announced on May 1, the day Benedict XVI celebrates the beatification Mass. 

According to some authoritative sources, October 16th - the date of John Paul II’s election - is the most likely choice. But this would be rather surprising given the fact that the Vatican is keen to stress John Paul II is being beatified on account of his personal holiness rather than his achievements as pope, or impact on history. Another date being floated is that of his inauguration, October 22nd. A date related to Our Lady of Fatima is another possibility.

Most beatified popes’ feast days are chosen to commemorate the date they entered Heaven (in John Paul II’s case, that would be April 2nd) and this has applied to almost all beatified popes.

But exceptions have been made, notably Blessed Gregory X (pope from 1271 to 1276) and, most recently, Blessed John XXIII (1958-1963) whose life is celebrated on 11th October, the anniversary of his opening of the Second Vatican Council.

The feast day of Blessed John Henry Newman, one of the Church’s most recent figures to be beatified, is on October 9th, the date he was received into the Catholic Church.

Which date do you favor for John Paul the Great?


The Vatican has made an announcement sooner than anticipated, and chosen Oct. 22nd as the feast day of Blessed John Paul II, the date of his liturgical inauguration as Pope. More details can be found here.

Filed under beatification, feast day, john paul ii

About Edward Pentin

Edward Pentin
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Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Edward is the author of "The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family", published by Ignatius Press. Follow him on Twitter @edwardpentin