Catholic Classroom: Becoming a Saint
Question: How does someone get declared a saint?
The saints are individuals who lived holy lives on earth and who are now in heaven. They are worthy of imitation and are able to intercede for us. As implied by the universal call to holiness, we are allcalled to be saints. But how does that process work? First, it is important to understand that the Church does not make someone a saint. It is through God’s work that a person becomes a saint, and when the Church canonizes someone, it simply recognizes the fact. Along these lines, there are very likely people who are saints who have not been canonized. This is what the canonization process looks like:
Servant of God
A person may not be considered for sainthood until they have died. There is a standard five-year waiting period from a person’s death until their cause for canonization may be opened. A person may be considered for canonization if they are particularly known for holiness or if they died a martyr. Recently, Pope Francis declared that people who have given their lives for others may also be considered for canonization. The person who begins the investigation into a person’s cause is his or her local bishop. If the bishop submits the information to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints and they agree that the cause may be opened, the person is considered a Servant of God.