On Monday the Vatican kicked off the countdown to Pope John Paul II’s beatification by posting a YouTube video of his famous first papal speech, when the Polish-born pontiff asked the Roman crowd in St. Peter’s Square to correct him if he made mistakes in Italian.
The clip was one of several from the early years of John Paul’s pontificate posted on the Vatican’s YouTube channel and linked to on its new Facebook page ahead of the May 1 beatification. Both were launched Monday after The Associated Press reported on the initiatives this weekend.
John Paul was one of the most beloved popes, a globe-trotting superstar who died in 2005 after a 27-year pontificate. Pope Benedict XVI put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood after shouts of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Immediately!” erupted during his funeral Mass. In January, Benedict approved the miracle needed for the beatification and set the date for the ceremony.