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Vatican approves Oct. 22 as US memorial for Blessed John Paul II
Catholic News Service photo
Pope John Paul II walks in the Italian Alps July 15, 1996. The pope, who was once an avid skier, loved to spend time in the mountains.
Catholic News Service photo
Pope John Paul II walks in the Italian Alps July 15, 1996. The pope, who was once an avid skier, loved to spend time in the mountains.
Catholic News Service


WASHINGTON — A new liturgical memorial — Oct. 22 — has been approved for Blessed John Paul II by the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

The U.S. Conference for Catholic Bishops announced Oct. 19 that the congregation had approved the "optional memorial" for the late pope in the calendar for U.S. dioceses. The U.S. bishops last November approved the date for the memorial, which is the anniversary of his inauguration as pope in 1978.

The Vatican congregation's approval was the final step to inclusion of the celebration in the liturgical calendar in the United States.

An earlier decree of the congregation had approved the celebration of a Mass of thanksgiving for Blessed John Paul during the year following his May 11, 2011, beatification, at the designation of the diocesan bishop. The Universal Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar require the additional approval process to inscribe a permanent observance on the calendar.

The office of readings and the Mass propers already included prayers and readings for Blessed John Paul and are what would be used in celebrations of his feast.

Blessed John Paul was pope for almost 27 years, traveling the world, helping bring about the end of communism in his native Poland and reaching out to other faiths. He opened new paths for the church such as the celebration of World Youth Day and other forms of outreach to young people and oversaw the creation of a new Catechism of the Catholic Church and a new Code of Canon Law.

His "Theology of the Body," a series of meditations on human sexuality, and 14 encyclicals and seven apostolic exhortations that followed Synods of Bishops left a body of teaching on everyday life and spirituality.

At the same meeting of the USCCB last November, the bishops approved an optional memorial for Blessed Marianne Cope, with the date to be determined. Since then, the Vatican set the date for Blessed Marianne's canonization as this Oct. 21, but there has been no update on the approval of her memorial. Her feast day is her birthday, Jan. 23.



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