Pope Francis has recognized a miracle obtained through the intercession of his predecessor Venerable John Paul I, who will now be declared “blessed.” Often called “the smiling pope,” John Paul I died unexpectedly on Sept. 28, 1978, after just 33 days in office.
Pope Francis gave his approval on Oct. 13 for the cause of beatification of John Paul I to move forward, along with the causes of six other people on the path to sainthood. John Paul I was declared Venerable by Pope Francis in 2017. According to a report this week from the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, John Paul I may be beatified before Easter.
Though beatification ceremonies usually take place in the country most associated with the life of the new blessed, John Paul I is likely to be beatified at the Vatican by Pope Francis because he served as a pope.
The miracle attributed to John Paul I’s intercession is the 2011 healing of a girl in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, Argentina, from a severe form of encephalopathy, a disease affecting the brain.