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Costa Ricans Awed By Miracle Which Is Key To Sainthood Of Pope John Paul II

posted 4 Jul 2013, 11:07 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 4 Jul 2013, 11:08 ]

Pope John Paul II moves closer to sainthood after miracle in Costa Rica is confirmed by Vatican commission.

CARTAGO, COSTA RICA (JULY 03, 2013) (REUTERS) -  The late Pope John Paul II moved closer to sainthood this week after a commission of cardinals and bishops credited him with a second miracle since his death, Italian media reported.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Vatican body that reviews candidates for sainthood, decided the pope's intercession was behind the healing of a woman from Costa Rica on May 1, 2011, according to the reports.

The late pontiff was credited with the healing of a Costa Rican woman from Cartago called Floribeth Mora, who was apparently cured of a severe brain injury after her family began praying to his memory.

Mora's neighbours in the small town of La Union de Tres Rios in the Cartago province, located about 25 kilometres (16 miles) east of capital city San Jose, said they were in awe of what they believed to be a miracle.

"How can it be that in this small country such as Costa Rica, in this poor small neighbourhood, this miracle took place. It's amazing! There are no words to describe it," said neighbour Cecilia Chavez.

Mora herself was not willing to be interviewed.

Praying to a colourful altar of the late pope, the residents praised Mora and her family.

"She and her husband deserve this, as well as the husband and whole family. They are a very good family. They are very educated and well respected by everyone on this little street. They are very generous. They truly help those who are in need. They try to help and are strong," said another neighbour Daniel Hernandez.

A canonization ceremony for the Polish-born pontiff, who died in April 2005, could come as soon as December, Vatican sources said. That would be the fastest progression to sainthood in modern times.

The remaining stage in the ancient procedure is a signature from the current pope, Francis, confirming the decision.

"Once this process has been reviewed, the information is passed onto the Holy Father, so that the pope solemnly certifies that there is effectively no doubt we are faced with a saint. He signs off on the definitive sentence," said a Costa Rican Bishop from Alajuela, Monsignor Angel Sancasimiro.

The woman had walked into Calderon Guardia Hospital in San Jose complaining of a headache.

Diagnostic tests revealed the presence of an aneurysm, the swelling of a blood vessel or artery, in her brain.

Neurosurgeon Alejandro Vargas Roman said later tests found no sign of the aneurysm and that he had no scientific explanation for its disappearance.

"The patient had an fusiform aneurysm of the medium right brain artery, accompanied by cerebral bleeding. The patient came to our hospital. The question of why it disappeared without surgical intervention is without explanation. I have never read about this anywhere around the world," Vargas Roman said.

John Paul had already been credited with asking God to cure French nun Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand of Parkinson's disease, which helped lead to his beatification in 2011, when he was declared a "blessed" of the Church.

A second miracle is required in order for someone to be given full sainthood.

John Paul's successor, Benedict, waived a church rule that normally requires a five-year waiting period before the preliminaries to sainthood can begin.

John Paul's 27-year-papacy saw the collapse of communism across eastern Europe, starting in his native Poland.

Millions of people attended his funeral in 2005 and many cried "Santo Subito" or "Make him a saint straight away".