The late Pope John Paul II will be beatified this May, a key step on the path to sainthood, the Vatican announced on Friday.

Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's ascension to Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name (intercession of saints). Beatification is the third of the four steps in the canonization process. A person who is beatified is given the title Blessed.

The beatification of Pope John Paul II is to take place May 1, the first Sunday after Easter, the Vatican said.

The Benedict XVI certified that his predecessor had met the requirements of beatification. Vatican said John Paul had performed a miracle after his death, a prerequisite for beatification. Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, said she was healed of her sufferings after praying to John Paul shortly after he died.

Doctors appointed by Church confirmed that there was no medical explanation for the healing of the nun, although last year there were some doubts about the validity of the miracle.

In May 2005, a month after his death, Benedict put John Paul on the fast track by waiving Church rules that typically seeks a five-year waiting period after pope's death before the procedure that leads to sainthood can start.

The Venerable Pope John Paul II, born Karol Józef Wojty?a (18 May 1920 - 2 April 2005), reigned as Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005.

His was the second-longest documented pontificate; only Pope Pius IX served longer. He has been the only Slavic or Polish Pope to date, and was the first non-Italian Pope since Dutch Pope Adrian VI in 1522.

John Paul II has been acclaimed as one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. It is widely held that he was instrumental in ending Communism in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe as well as significantly improving the Catholic Church's relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion.

Though criticized for his opposition to contraception and the ordination of women, as well as his support for the Second Vatican Council and its reform of the Liturgy, he has also been praised for his firm, orthodox Catholic stances in these areas.

He was also one of the most-travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonized 483 saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the last five centuries.

He also survived an assassination attempt in St. Peter's Square in 1981, but he forgave the Turk who had shot him. On Dec. 19 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed Venerable by his papal successor Pope Benedict XVI.

Now, a second miracle is needed for the John Paul to be made a saint.