You may have heard recent news of a person being made into a patron saint for specific situations or places. There is an up and down issue about a person who has died living for the faith and whether he should be canonized or not. It is a tedious process that has a systematized procedure to determine whether the person involved should receive the title of saint.
- Nomination. After a person dies, if he or she has lived a life of virtue according to the teachings of God and has helped others to realize those teachings, people will nominate him to become a saint.
- Investigation. The nomination will be taken up by the local bishop who will begin investigation of the life lived by the person, including what he has done and the writings he has produced. This usually takes place five years after the person has died, in order to have a more objective look at the life of the person, without emotional excitement affecting anyone's judgment. Witnesses will be called to speak in front of a tribunal on how they have seen that person live out the Christian virtues, if they are to be considered heroic enough to be called a saint. At this point in time, the person nominated will be called by the title of Servant of God.
- The Congregation. After the local investigation, the information is forwarded to The Congregation for the Causes of Saints, whicih is in charge of discussing the given information. This involves a Roman postulator who will summarize the details given by the local bishop. They will discuss this intensively twice a month until they come to a conclusion. If it is a favorable one, then they will proceed to create the decree that will be announced to the public that this person has passed the initial approval process to become a saint.
- Beatification. This requires that there should be a miracle to happen under the name of the Servant of God after his death. Examples of these are praying to the Servant of God during times of illness and being healed or seeing that person in a dream, wherein a message is conveyed or healing is conferred. When this has been testified to and the miracle associated with the heroic virtue, the Servant of God shall then be entitled as the Blessed.
- Canonization. This requires a second miracle to happen after the person has received the title of Blessed. When a miracle happens in the name of the Blessed, when it has been attested to and approved by the Holy Father, then the canonization process can be finished. When the canonization process is complete, that is the time that the person will receive the title of Saint.
Becoming a saint requires a life's dedication to the ways of the Catholic Church both in prayer and in actions. You can find books on lives of the saints, and more often than not, you can see that they have lived their lives in simplicity, helping others and spreading the word of God. They are a symbol for many things in our daily lives. Truly, these are amazing men and women, but no one says that we need to be saints to make a difference. Even you can make miracles in the little acts of kindness you do in your daily life.