EWTN Catholic Q&A
Praying "TO" John Paul II
Question from Joel Jurgens on 04-04-2005:

Although I believe it is appropriate to pray for the repose of John Paul's soul at this time, I am also confident (along with many Catholics I'm sure) that he now enjoys the Beatific Vision. With this in mind, when might Catholics fell comfortable praying "TO" John Paul, for surely we now have another powerful intercessor in heaven?

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 04-15-2005:

There is no obstacle to individuals, in their capacity as private persons, asking the Holy Father's intercession, just as you may ask that of your deceased relatives and friends. Even if he, or they, were in purgatory, they can pray for us, and we ought to pray for them, in case they are there.

The possibility of public prayer (devotional or liturgical) will only come with beatification, and then only in those dioceses or relgious communities which seek and obtain permission for local veneration (cultus) from the Congregation for Divine Worship. With canonization universal veneration of a person is permitted.