What does Beatification mean? It is a major step on the road to canonisation. After his death in 1933, many people testified to Fr John’s goodness, his union with God in prayer, his self-denial and kindness to the suffering. They told of favours granted in answer to his prayers. So the Cause of Beatification and Canonisation was instituted in 1947. Because Fr John had died in a Dublin hospital, the process was initiated by the Arch-bishop of Dublin, Dr John Charles McQuaid. Fr John had been his spiritual guide while he was a student at Clongowes. In 1960 the remains were exhumed and sealed in a triple coffin. They were received at St Francis Xavier’s and interred in the fittingly austere vault designed by another past pupil, Andrew Devane. The Servant of God John Sullivan was declared Venerable by Pope Francis in November 2014, thus recognising his holiness and accepting his cause for beatification. More recently, Rome accepted that Fr John had worked an authentic miracle after being invoked in prayer by a Kildare woman suffering from thyroid cancer in the 1950s.
The Papal Decree of Beatification, to be promulgated by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, will allow us to celebrate Mass in honour of Blessed John Sullivan on his designated feast-day.