Canonization, according to the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church, is the act of admitting a deceased person into the canon of saints.
Its primary purpose is to officially authorize veneration and intercession of a particular saint. An investigation process that is done to make sure the person is in heaven and God is working through him or her is done before the canonization.
According to religionfacts.com, being canonized as a saint means that:
* The saint’s name is added to the catalogue of saints (meaning that veneration is authorized)
* The saint is invoked in public prayers
* Churches may be dedicated in the saint’s memory
* The Mass can be offered in the saint’s honor
* Feast days are celebrated in the saint’s memory
* Images of the saint are made in which his or her head is surrounded by a halo
* The saint’s relics (remains) are enclosed in vessels and publicly honored.
1. A formal request is made by a group called Actor Causae usually between five and 50 years after a would-be saint’s death to consider the person a saint.
Actor Causae is composed of people from the church and community of the would-be saint. The request is directed to the bishop of the diocese where the person died.
The request includes testimony of the person’s exceptional virtue and dedication to God.
2. The bishop decides whether the evidence is compelling enough to take it to Rome. If so, he asks the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for permission to open the cause.
3. If permission is granted, the bishop opens a tribunal and calls witnesses to attest to the quality of the person’s public life.
The candidate must be shown to have been virtuous, devout, religious, and characterized by love, kindness, prudence and other virtues (concrete examples are required).
Miracles are not necessary at this point, but they are recorded if mentioned. If the person passes this step, he or she is called a Servant of God.
4. The bishop sends a report to Rome, where it is translated into Italian. This step is called the Apostolic Process.
5. A summary called the Positio is presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
6. Nine theologians scrutinize the evidence and documentation. If majority pass it, goes to Congregation.
If they approve, the Prefect of the Congregation authorizes person to be called Venerable.
If any miracles are reported (which qualify the person for beatification or canonization), the Prefect presents the cause to the pope to decide.
Canonization is considered a function of papal infallibility, as it is important that believers venerate and pray to only those who are actually in heaven.
The Pope declares beatification or canonization at a special Mass in the saint’s honor.
The formal declaration of beatification or canonization occurs during a special Mass conducted by the Pope. It usually takes place outdoors in St. Peter’s Square in Rome before large crowds, but sometimes is conducted in the saint’s home country.
The canonization ceremony is conducted as follows:
1. The saint’s life history is read aloud.
2. The Pope chants the following in Latin:
“In honor of the Blessed Trinity, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith and the growth of Christian life, with the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul and Our Own, after lengthy reflection, having assiduously invoked God’s assistance and taken into account the opinion of many brothers of ours in the episcopate, we declare and define [name] to be a saint [or "to be blessed"], and we enroll him in the Catalogue of the saints, and we establish that in the whole Church he should be devoutly honored among the saints. In the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
The person is officially recognized as blessed or as a saint at this point.
3. A large tapestry with an image of the saint is unfurled before the faithful to admire and venerate.