VATICAN CITY (AP) _ Padre Pio, a late Italian Capuchin monk credited with supernatural powers by followers around the world, will be beatified in May, the Vatican announced Monday.

The way was cleared after the Vatican certified a miracle attributed to the monk, who died in 1968.

The beatification ceremony _ the last step before possible sainthood _ will take place May 2, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said.

The announcement set off celebrations at the sanctuary in San Giovanni Rotondo in southern Italy, where Padre Pio died. His tomb in southern Italy attracts millions of visitors a year.

Church bells rang out, fireworks were set off and sirens sounded to greet the news.

A ceremony on Monday attended by Pope John Paul II recognized a miracle by the monk. A Salerno woman who was hospitalized after a lymph vessel burst recovered in a few days after praying to Padre Pio, the Vatican said, calling her recovery ``extraordinary.''

Born Francesco Forgione in 1887, Padre Pio he was a military chaplain during World War I. After the war, he returned to his monastery in Puglia, and quickly developed a reputation for exceptional holiness.

He gained fame in 1918 when he apparently began to bleed from his hands, feet and side. His beatification will be one of the fastest in modern times.