Catholic Church to Move Pope John Paul Closer to Sainthood

On the second anniversary of Pope John Paul II's death, Roman Catholic Church officials have concluded the first phase of investigations into his "holiness" on Monday, as he moves one level closer to sainthood.

Thousands of Catholics gathered in Vatican City to join special events put on by the Catholic Church to celebrate the second anniversary of Pope John Paul II's death.

At midday Monday, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rome will hand over tens of thousands of pages of documents to the Vatican, which propose that Pope John Paul be beatified, which is just one step away to receiving sainthood.

To become a saint, it must be proved that Pope John Paul II carried out medically unexplained healings. In accordance with this, the documents will include among its cases, that of Marie Simon-Pierre, a 46-year-old French nun diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. She testifies that her disease inexplicably disappeared exactly two months after his death.

That could be one of two miracles required for Pope John Paul II to be bestowed with sainthood.

The Vatican, upon receiving all the documentation, will assess all the evidence gathered and rule whether or not the case was an official miracle.

Monday will see a whole host of events laid on to commemorate John Paul II, with his former private secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, set to give Mass at his tomb in St Peter's Basilica.

A huge number of Catholics have been convinced of John Paul II's credentials for sainthood, many of them chanting at his funeral "Santo Subito" ("Make him a saint now").

In May 2005, his successor Pope Benedict XVI put John Paul II on the fast track to sainthood by dispensing with Church rules that normally impose a five-year waiting period after a candidate's death before the procedure for sainthood can commence.