Pope Paul VI, who had the task of closing the Second Vatican Council in 1965, will be canonized in St Peter’s Square together with Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, and another four saints of charity, during the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican.
Holiness within everyone’s reach
Paul VI was born Giovanni Battista Montini in 1897. He died at the papal residence of Castelgandolfo on August 6th 1978, after being pope for 15 years. At a General Audience on March 16th 1966, he explained that “holiness is within everyone’s reach” and that we only need two elements in order to become saints: "the grace of God and good will".
But the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints also requires a miracle. That miracle occurred in 2014, when an unborn child was inexplicably healed in her mother’s womb. On a visit to Brescia, Paul VI’s birthplace, she prayed to him for her child’s recovery which, contrary to all medical predictions, was complete, and she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. The miracle that was required for his beatification also involved the healing of a baby during a complicated pregnancy. Both of these are significant insofar as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Paul VI’s Encyclical, Humanae Vitae, in defense of life, especially the unborn.