At Pope John Paul II's funeral last week, the people watching the procession chanted "saint" in Italian, leading to speculation that the Pope could be fast-tracked to saint hood.
The normal waiting period before starting the process to become a saint is at least five years after the person's death.
The person first becomes venerable for living a godly life. The next step is beatification, where a miracle is attributed to the person by someone praying with them or to them.
Canonization comes after another miracle is attributed to them.
"A goodly number of those, but not all, have official dates in the church year where they are recognized by the church to be saints, some world wide, some locally," says Father John Schultz of St. James the Greater Catholic church in Eau Claire.
Not every Pope becomes a saint. In the last 500 years, only two, Pope St. Pius the fifth and tenth have been canonized.
The catholic public can add the title "the Great" to Pope John Paul II's name if he is continually referred to that way.