|Pilgrims held up signs that read SANTO SUBITO, in reference to people wanting him to be made a Saint as soon as possible|
"Santo Subito" read the banners held in Saint Peter's Square by the hundreds-of-thousands who attended Pope John Paul's funeral. Many said the pope is already a saint in their eyes, although it could take a while for the Vatican's official recognition.
The faithful at the funeral said the late pope should be declared a saint immediately. Their calls have not landed on deaf ears.
Archbishop Edward Novak is the secretary of the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the office that studies the cases for beatification and canonization. He believes the pope's case may be fast-tracked. "It is possible," Archbishop Novak said, "if the [new] pope thinks it opportune."
Pope John Paul II called the synod of bishops for its meeting in October, and if this meeting is confirmed by the new pope, there will be representatives from all over the world in Rome.
Archbishop Novak said he did not expect an immediate declaration of sainthood, but said the synod would provide the right occasion to announce the start of the saint-making process for Pope John Paul II.
As in the case of Mother Teresa, Archbishop Novak said, the five-year waiting period required before the process can begin, could be waived.
The Vatican official said he did not expect so many calls for immediate sainthood the day of the funeral, adding that it was fantastic. His congregation has been receiving large quantities of documents from faithful claiming they were cured through the intercession of Pope John Paul II.
At least one miracle is required after death before someone can be beatified. But there can be exceptions.
The archbishop said, the miracle, in some cases, has been replaced by the abundance of information on grace received, and that could occur in this case.
The final decision on Pope John Paul's saint-making process rests with the new pope. Archbishop Novak stressed that whoever is elected was undoubtedly among the cardinals at the funeral, and heard the cry for sainthood.