A blessed person is a person whose Christian perfection is recognized by the Church through beatification. This celebration precedes the proclamation of canonization, the final stage in which the Church officially recognizes the holiness of a person and holds it up as an example to all Christian people. Let us remember, however, that everyone who enters Heaven upon death is holy. Consequently, there are many saints unknown to the general public but truly holy to God.
Before canonizing a person, that is, recognizing them as a saint, the Church follows a rigorous process marked by four decisive steps. The first is to recognize the heroic virtues of the person by declaring them a servant of God. Next, the Church proclaims them Venerable. The third step is beatification, which requires the recognition by the Church of a miracle (with precise conditions). The last stage, canonization, requires the recognition of a second miracle attributed to the intercession of the saint.
It is at the diocesan level that the investigation is carried out, and the first three steps are carried out by the local bishop. It is only at the end of the journey, nearing canonization, that the case will be transferred to Rome, to the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints to be re-examined in its entirety.
Initially, a member of the faithful or a group of members of the faithful present a request for beatification to the bishop of the diocese. One of the people is chosen as the Postulator of the Cause, similar to a lawyer. The bishop undertakes a thorough investigation to rule on Christian virtues, possible martyrdom, and possible miracles. He calls on experts (theologians), called witnesses, and studies the available writings. The investigation thus collects evidence that it examines to form a Cause.
Through the beatification of a person, the Church allows and encourages public worship. A date of celebration is chosen to honor the blessed, the faithful will also be able to freely worship relics, icons and pious images.
Here are several models given by the Church to all Christians in virtue of their exemplary holiness.
Many other figures of holiness are to be discovered and imitated: Blessed Pauline Jaricot, beatified in 2022, Blessed Marcel Callo, beatified in 1987, or Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, beatified in 1990.