The U.S. bishops approved adding optional memorials for Blessed Pope John Paul II and Blessed Marianne Cope to the U.S. Proper of Saints calendar.
The memorials were discussed and approved on Nov. 15 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops during their fall General Assembly, which was held in Baltimore.
By a vote of 154-2, the bishops approved placing a memorial for Blessed John Paul II on the calendar for Oct. 22, the anniversary of his election as Pope in 1978.
At the time of his death on April 2, 2005, devotion to Pope John Paul II was already widespread and cries of “Santo Subito!” (Saint Now!) were heard in St. Peter’s Square following his passing.
He was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI before a crowd of more than 1 million people on May 1, 2011, in front of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Beatified individuals are not typically inscribed on the Church’s universal calendar. However, local authorities can suggest the addition of the observance of a beatified individual on a diocesan, religious or national calendar.
Blessed Mother Marianne Cope spent her life caring for leprosy patients in Hawaii. She was beatified in May 2005.
Blessed Marianne’s feast day was previously observed as an optional memorial on Jan. 23 in the Diocese of Syracuse, N.Y., where she entered the Sisters of Saint Francis, and in the Diocese of Honolulu, where she served the sick for many years.
The bishops of Syracuse and Honolulu, along with the minister general of the Sisters of Saint Francis of the Neumann Communities, requested that the optional memorial of Blessed Marianne be added to the proper calendar for all U.S. dioceses.
The bishops voted 216-2 in favor of adding an optional memorial for her to the calendar. They also approved a Spanish translation of the memorial texts.
The date of Blessed Marianne’s memorial has not been finalized because the date of her death (Aug. 9) is already the feast day of St. Edith Stein. The bishops noted that it has been celebrated locally on Jan. 23, the date of her birth.
The Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship will have to confirm the bishops’ votes on the memorials before they can be implemented.