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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. How does one become a Saint?

A. 1. Contrary to the common belief that there are 3 steps to becoming a Saint, the Catholic Church teaches that there are 4 steps the becoming a Saint. Many teachers of this matter omit the first step.

Before a person can be considered for sainthood, he/she must have been dead for at least 5 years. (Pope John Paul II waived this requirement in Mother Teresa's case.)

First Step: When the subject arises that a person should be considered for Sainthood, a Bishop is placed in charge of the initial investigation of the person's life. If it is determined that the candidate is deemed worthy of further consideration, the Vatican grants a "Nihil Obstat." This is a Latin phrase that means "nothing hinders." Henceforth, the candidate is called a "Servant of God."

Second Step: The Church Official, a Postulator, who coordinates the process and serves as an advocate, must prove that the candidate lived heroic virtues. This is achived through the collection of documents and testimonies that are collected and presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome. When a candidate is approved, he/she earns the title of "Venerable."

Third Step: To be beatified and recognized as a "Blessed," one miracle acquired through the candidateís intercession is required in addition to recognition of heroic virtue (or martyrdom in the case of a martyr).

Fourth Step: Canonization requires a second miracle after beatification, though a Pope may waive these requirements. (A miracle is not required prior to a martyrís beatification, but one is required before his/her canonization.) Once this second miracle has been received through the candidate's intercession, the Pope declares the person a "Saint."

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