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The steps to sainthood

  • Eagle staff
  • Published Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009, at 11:51 a.m.
  • Updated Friday, Dec. 4, 2009, at 12:51 p.m.


Servant of God

The title given to a candidate for sainthood whose cause is still under investigation, prior to beatification. Father Kapaun was named a Servant of God in 1993.

Beatification The second stage in the process occurs after a diocese or religious institute and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has conducted a rigorous investigation into the person’s life and writings to determine whether he or she demonstrates a heroic level of virtue or suffered martyrdom. For the beatification of a Servant of God, a miracle attributed to his intercession, verified after his death, is necessary. Martyrs — those who died for their faith — can be beatified without evidence of a miracle.

Canonization The formal process by which the Church declares a person to be a saint. Another miracle, having occurred after his beatification, is needed.

What is the Congregation for the Causes of Saints? A department of the Roman Curia, established originally as the Congregation of Rites by Pope Sixtus V in 1588. Reorganized and renamed in 1969 by Pope Paul VI, and again in 1983 by Pope John Paul II. In addition to making recommendations to the pope on beatifications and canonizations, it is also responsible for the authentication and preservation of sacred relics.

Source: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

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