Pope Francis has announced that Blessed Paul VI will be proclaimed a saint on Sunday, October 14th in the Vatican.

Pope Paul VI, who had the task of closing the Second Vatican Council in 1965, will be canonized in St Peter’s Square together with Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, and another four saints of charity, during the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican.

Pope Paul VI was born Giovanni Battista Montini in 1897. He was ordained a priest in May 1920, and elected as Pope in June 1963. He died at the papal residence of Castelgandolfo on August 6th 1978, after serving as pope for 15 years.

At a General Audience on March 16th 1966, he explained that ‘holiness is within everyone’s reach’ and that we only need two elements in order to become saints: ‘the grace of God and good will’.

Paul VI was beatified in 2014 after a first miracle was attributed to him.

Speaking at the Beatification ceremony at the concluding Mass of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family in Rome, Pope Francis said, ‘When we look to this great Pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle, we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thanks! Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI! Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church!”

‘In his personal journal, the great helmsman of the Council wrote, at the conclusion of its final session: “Perhaps the Lord has called me and preserved me for this service not because I am particularly fit for it, or so that I can govern and rescue the Church from her present difficulties, but so that I can suffer something for the Church, and in that way it will be clear that he, and no other, is her guide and savior.” In this humility the grandeur of Blessed Paul VI shines forth: before the advent of a secularized and hostile society, he could hold fast, with farsightedness and wisdom – and at times alone – to the helm of the barque of Peter, while never losing his joy and his trust in the Lord.’

Earlier this year, a Vatican theological and medical commission approved a second miracle attributed to him.

The miracle occurred in 2014, when an unborn child was inexplicably healed in her mother’s womb. On a visit to Brescia, Pope Paul VI’s birthplace, she prayed to him for her child’s recovery which, contrary to all medical predictions, was complete, and she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. The miracle that was required for his beatification also involved the healing of a baby during a complicated pregnancy. Both of these are significant insofar as this year marks the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical, Humanae Vitae, in defense of life, especially the unborn.