Brian Haubert grabs some pamphlets and marches toward the flea market in Palmyra, N.J. Armed with a poster that trumpets Judgment Day on May 21, 2011, he braces for rejection. Announcing God's wrath is not always a popular message.
"I've been called a heretic," says Haubert, a 33-year-old actuary. "I've been told I read the wrong Bible. And then there's the occasional person who seems to be genuinely interested," he says.
The chants began even before Pope John Paul II had been put to his final rest, as his coffin was carried through St. Peter's Square: "Santo Subito! Santo Subito!"
A month later, Pope Benedict XVI — his successor and close friend — launched the process that would do just that. On Sunday, John Paul II will be beatified in Rome, bringing him one step away from sainthood.
Pope John Paul II will be beatified in May, which puts him halfway toward sainthood. To have gotten this far, the Vatican must believe that the late pope is responsible for a miracle. Earlier this year, the Vatican declared that a woman was miraculously healed from Parkinson's disease after she prayed to the late pontiff.
And this raises the question: How does the Vatican investigate miracles?
Let's start in Ferndale, Wash., where a potential miracle is under investigation.