Beatification of the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II on Divine Mercy Sunday

03 May 2011


1 May 2011

Beatification of the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II on Divine Mercy Sunday

Today, Divine Mercy Sunday, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI officiated at the Mass of Beatification for John Paul II, which was celebrated in Saint Peter’s Square.  Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland; Cardinal Desmond Connell, Archbishop Emeritus of Dublin; and Bishop John Buckley, Bishop of Cork and Ross, participated in the beatification ceremony. They were joined by priests and religious from Ireland and an estimated two million pilgrims. See details of full programme below.

In Dublin at 6.30pm this evening, to mark this joyous occasion, a Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, in Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral.

Tomorrow at 3.30pm a Mass of thanksgiving for Irish pilgrims attending the beatification will be celebrated by Cardinal Brady at the Basilica Parrocchiale di Santa Maria in Domnica alla Navicella, which is close by the Pontifical Irish College in Rome.

Yesterday in the College Chapel of the national seminary, Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, a special vigil Mass was held to mark the Beatification of John Paul II.  Father Paul Prior, Director of Formation, was the principal celebrant of the Mass which was attended by seminarians and staff of Saint Patrick’s College. The Mass was followed by a Eucharistic Vigil until midnight.  During the Eucharistic Vigil a seminarian read the text of the special address which John Paul II delivered to seminarians during his visit to Maynooth in 1979.  See for a special web feature on the beatification which contains:

  • Significance of Divine Mercy Sunday in the life and death of John Paul II

The Devotion to the Divine Mercy was actively promoted by John Paul II, who canonised the Polish Saint and visionary, Sr Faustina Kowalska on 30 April in the Jubilee Year of 2000, and designated the Second Sunday of Easter as the Sunday of the Divine Mercy in the General Roman Calendar. Cardinal Brady said, “Divine Mercy Sunday is a feast that was very close to the heart of the John Paul II. It points us the wounds of Jesus’ Passion, especially the wound in His heart, the source of a great wave of mercy and love poured out on humanity.  John Paul often said that, in the Eucharist, he was uniting his own sufferings with those of Christ.”

  • Audio interview with Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath

To celebrate the Beatification of John Paul II, Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath – who was part of the organising committee for the visit of Pope John Paul II to Ireland in 1979 – has recorded a special audio interview with Brenda Drumm of the Catholic Communications Office. Bishop Smith shares his memories of the late Pope’s pastoral visit to Ireland: the planning and logistics involved; why Pope John Paul did not visit Northern Ireland; his special mention of Clonmacnois during his weekly audience after the visit concluded. Bishop Smith also talks about how Pope John Paul II’s early life shaped his papacy, how his words about Ireland turned out to be prophetic. He also talks about the witness he gave in his final illness and death and how strong an advocate he was for human dignity and life in all in stages. Finally, Bishop Smith shares his thoughts on the beatification process.

  • Live audio recordings of John Paul II’s homilies and addresses during his 1979 pastoral visit to Ireland

In three memorable days, 29 September – 1 October 1979, John Paul II visited Dublin, Drogheda, Clonmacnois, Galway, Knock, Maynooth, Limerick and Shannon.  Listen back to these live recordings on  During this time, he also delivered several talks, sermons and addresses, including an address to the Irish Government, and a ‘special broadcast address to the Sick’ on RTÉ radio and television.  Among the themes he chose included the call to faith, parenthood, peace and justice, the Eucharist, forgiveness, youth and prayer – all of which resonate today.

  • Details of the broadcasts of the beatification by RTÉ and BBC

Notes for Editors

  • On 16 October 1978 Cardinal Wojtyla of Krakow, Poland, was elected the 264thPope of the Catholic Church, and he took the name John Paul II.  Pope John Paul II visited Ireland on 29, 30 September and 1 October 1979.  Ireland was the third pilgrimage of his Pontificate.  John Paul II died after the celebration of the vigil Mass of Divine Mercy Sunday on 2 April 2005.
  • Please see below the full programme for the celebrations for the beatification of John Paul II, which Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, has described as “strongly characterised by particular elements intended to emphasise the richness of John Paul II’s personality, and the impact of his pontificate on the life of the diocese of Rome and on the whole world”:

1. The Vigil, 30 April (Circus Maximus, 20.00 to 22.30).

The celebration was divided into two parts. The first part was dedicated to remembering the words and actions of John Paul II. There was a solemn procession during which the image of Maria Salus Populi Romani will be enthroned; accompanied by representatives of all the parishes and chaplaincies of the diocese. Privileged accounts were given by Joaquin Navarro-Valls and Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, both of whom worked closely with the Blessed John Paul, and by Sr Marie Simon-Pierre, whose miraculous recovery opened the way for the beatification process. This first part of the celebrations concluded with the hymn Totus tuus, composed for the 50th anniversary of John Paul’s priestly ordination.

The second part focused on the celebration of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, which were introduced by John Paul II. After the hymn Open the doors to Christ, Cardinal Vallini will gave an introduction summarising the spiritual and pastoral character of John Paul II. The Rosary was recited, with a live connection to five Marian sanctuaries around the world. Each of the five Mysteries of the Rosary were linked to a prayer intention of importance to John Paul II. In the Sanctuary of Lagniewniki, Krakow, the prayer intention was the theme of youth; in the Sanctuary of Kawekamo, Bugando, Tanzania: the family; in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lebanon, Harissa: evangelisation; in the Basilica of Sancta Maria de Guadalupe, Mexico City: hope and peace among peoples; and, in the Sanctuary of Fatima: the Church.

To conclude the vigil, Benedict XVI recited the final oration and imparted the apostolic blessing to all participants, in live transmission from the Apostolic Palace.

2. Mass of Beatification, 1 May, Sunday after Easter or of Divine Mercy (St. Peter’s Square, 09.00: hour of preparation; 10.00: officiated by the Holy Father).

The solemn liturgy of beatification was preceded by an hour of preparation during which the faithful prayed together the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, a devotion introduced by Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska and dear to the Blessed John Paul II. The preparation concluded with an Invocation to Mercy in the world, with the hymn Jezu ufam tobie. This was followed by Mass, with the texts for the Sunday after Easter. At the end of the rite of beatification, the unveiling of the tapestry depicting the newly Blessed was accompanied by the Hymn to the Blessed in Latin.

Following the beatification ceremony, Pope Benedict, and the concelebrating cardinals, made their way to the Altar of Confession in the Basilica and prayed before the body of the newly Blessed.  From this evening, those who wish to do so may venerate the remains of John Paul II.

3. Mass of thanksgiving tomorrow Monday 2 May (officiated by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, St. Peter’s Square, 10.30).

Mass on Monday 2 May shall be the first celebrated in honour of the newly Blessed John Paul II. The texts shall be those of the Mass of the Blessed John Paul II. Music during the celebrations shall be provided by the Choir of the Diocese of Rome, with the participation of the Choir of Warsaw and the Wadowice Symphony Orchestra, Poland.

Further information:

Father Timothy Bartlett in Rome with Cardinal Brady: 0044 (0) 7879 416685Catholic Communications Office in Maynooth, Ireland: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444