Europe

Pope Francis approves Irish priest for beatification

Pope Francis Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fr John Sullivan was one of 39 people to be approved for beatification by the Pope

Pope Francis has approved the beatification of a Jesuit priest from Dublin for his work with the sick and dying in the early 20th century.

Fr John Sullivan (1861 - 1933) was one of 39 to be named in a decree signed by Pope Francis to be beatified - officially recognised as 'Blessed'.

He was declared a 'Servant of God' in 1960 and in 2014 he was made a 'Venerable' by Pope Francis.

In certain circumstances beatification can later lead to sainthood.

Fr Sullivan was brought up by a wealthy protestant family and was a later teacher at Clongowes Wood College in County Kildare.

Since the 1940s Fr Sullivan's supporters have been campaigning for him to be made a saint.

The attribution of a miracle is given to those who have died for the faith, while receiving a sainthood requires a miracle.

Those named on the decree include Albanian Bishop, Vincens Prenushi, who died in prison in 1949 after being tortured for demanding the formation of a breakaway Albanian church under the country's former communist regime.

Albania was declared as the world's first atheist state in 1967.

Pope Francis also recognised a further 37 Albanian clerics and aspiring clerics, who were killed between 1945 and 1974, as martyrs.

During a visit to Albania in 2014, Pope Francis paid tribute to all those who died.