Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Pope St John Paul II, pray for us

Today is the commemoration of Pope St John Paul II (Karol Jozef Wojtyla) who was canonised in 2014. Here is a photo of a much younger me in Rome (with no grey hair!), together with Fr Bill Edebohls, then Anglican Dean of Ballarat, with Pope John Paul II. This was in February 1994, and we were on our way to the UK for the consecration of David Silk who had been elected Bishop of Ballarat. When the Holy Father died in 2005, the American evangelist Billy Graham - a friend of John Paul II - spoke for millions of people round the world when he said of this great man: "He taught us how to live, and he taught us how to die."

The following is summarised from the Vatican website: 

Karol Wojtyla was born in the Polish town of Wadowice, on May 18, 1920, the youngest of three children. His mother died when he was 9, his brother when Karol was 12, and his father 9 years later. His sister Olga had died before Karol was born.

When he finished school he enrolled in Jagiellonian University, and a school for drama. When the Nazis closed the university the following year, Karol had to work in a quarry and factories to earn a living. During this time he felt called to be a priest, and started studying in the secret seminary of Krakow.

When the war came to an end he continued his studies, and was ordained on November 1, 1946. He went to Rome for further studies, and then returned to Poland, where he served several parishes, and then as chaplain to the university students there.

Karol became Bishop of Ombi and auxiliary of Krakow in 1958, and then in 1964, Archbishop of Krakow. Pope Paul VI made him a cardinal in 1967. As Cardinal Wojtyla, he participated in the second Vatican Council, and the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops. 

On October 16, 1978 he was elected Pope, taking the name "John Paul II". His pontificate was one of the longest in Church history, lasting almost 27 years. He made 104 visits outside Italy, and 146 within Italy. He visited 317 of Rome’s 333 parishes. He held hundreds of meetings with leaders of nations, pilgrims, and faithful. He established World Youth Days as a way to connect with young people around the world.

He promoted spiritual renewal within the Church, through the Year of Redemption, the Marian Year, and the Year of the Eucharist. He proclaimed 1,338 blesseds and 51 saints, and made St. Therese of the Child Jesus a Doctor of the Church. His writings are many, and have informed Church teachings throughout his pontificate and into the present day.  

On April 2, 2005, John Paul II died. More than three million pilgrims came to Rome to pay homage to his remains, some waiting in line for 24 hours to enter the Basilica. He was canonized on April 27, 2014, by Pope Francis. 

The Eucharist is the secret of my day. It gives strength and meaning to all my activities of service to the Church and to the whole world… Let Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament speak to your hearts. It is he who is the true answer of life that you seek. He stays here with us: he is God with us. Seek him without tiring, welcome him without reserve, love him without interruption: today, tomorrow, forever.
Pastoral visit to Young People of Bologna, 1997 full text

The liberating message of the Gospel of Life has been put into your hands… Like the great Apostle Paul, you too must feel the full urgency of the task. […] This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops!
Eucharistic Celebration of the 8th World Youth Day, 1993 full text

It is Jesus you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.
Address of the 15th World Youth Day, 2000 full text

Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ!
Inauguration Homily of his Pontificate, 1978 full text

We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures, we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son Jesus.
Apostolic Voyage to Toronto, 2002 full text

We are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the “culture of death” and the “culture of life”. We find ourselves not only faced with but necessarily in the midst of this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.
Evangelium Vitae, 1995 full text

Genuine love … is demanding. But its beauty lies precisely in the demands its makes. These demands are precisely capable of making your love a true love.
Message to the young people of Cuba, 1998 full text

We do not pretend that life is all beauty. We are aware of darkness and sin, of poverty and pain. But we know Jesus has conquered sin and passed through his own pain to the glory of the Resurrection. And we live in the light of his Paschal Mystery – the mystery of his Death and Resurrection. We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!
Angelus after Mass, Apostolic Journey to the Far East and Oceania, 1986 full text

Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth – in a word, to know himself- so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.
Fides et Ratio, 1998 full text

Dear young people, do not be content with anything less than the highest ideals! Do not let yourselves be dispirited by those who are disillusioned with life and have grown deaf to the deepest and most authentic desires of their heart. You are right to be disappointed with hollow entertainment and passing fads, and with aiming at too little in life.
Message to Youth at the World Youth Day, 2002 full text

Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This, as has already been said, is why Christ the Redeemer “fully reveals man to himself.”
Redemptor Hominis, 1979 full text

Remember that you are never alone, Christ is with you on your journey every day of your lives! He has called you and chosen you to live in the freedom of the children of God. Turn to him in prayer and in love. Ask him to grant you the courage and strength to live in this freedom always. Walk with him who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life”!
Address at 12th World Youth Day, 199full text


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