Padre Pio's Canonization ‘Almost Certain’ for 2002

THE MIRROR, July 9—The Vatican announced that the beloved Italian priest Padre Pio is almost certain to be canonized next year, the London daily reported.

Pope John Paul II beatified Padre Pio in 1999. The Vatican has now recognized a second miracle performed by Padre Pio, the healing of an 8-year-old child with meningitis.

The child, who is known only as Matteo Pio, was taken to a hospital founded by Padre Pio. Although his doctors despaired, and the child fell into a coma, Matteo Pio revived after 12 days saying that he had dreamed that Padre Pio smiled upon him.

Jubilee Year Boosts Vatican Bank Balance

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, July 6—The Jubilee Year 2000 led to a windfall for the Church's finances, the wire service reported.

The Vatican reported an unprecedented $7.7 million profit. Pope John Paul II's finance minister, Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani noted that the Vatican spent 208.85 million euros on administration. It employs 2,650 people.

The money included “Peter's Pence,” an annual collection in Catholic churches worldwide. This collection usually raises over 50 million euros, which the Pope distributes mainly to poor countries. Cardinal Sebastiani stressed the importance of donations to the Vatican, which helped the Church get out of debt in 1991 after 23 years of running deficits.

Pope Encourages Cuban Bishops

EFE NEWS SERVICE, July 6—Before leaving on vacation, Pope John Paul II met with members of the Cuban Bishops' Conference and encouraged them to promote human rights, liberty and solidarity, the news service reported.

The Pope emphasized “the right to life of the unborn, and the right to food, health, education, and to exercise the freedoms of movement, expression and association.”

When Cuban bishops demand those rights, the Pope explained, “they are not attempting to defy anyone, but are only fulfilling their mission to promote an existence based solidly on human truth for the Cuban people.”

The Pope urged the bishops to promote “faith in Jesus Christ, who acts within human beings in a totally different way from ideologies, which are outdated and consume the energies of people and nations.” He also encouraged the laity to participate, although he acknowledged that many Cubans face great difficulty in exercising their faith due to the island's repressive regime.