Monday, April 02, 2007

Has it been TWO years?

This was the cartoon my very talented brother Paul did when John Paul II died. My family has always felt a certain closeness to the Pope -- he's from the same area of Poland as my paternal grandfather and he was elected in the midst of a rash of Polish jokes which ceased once people realized that Karol Wojtyla was not the stereotypical Polack! Almost 27 years after his election by the College of Cardinals (with lots of assistance from the Holy Spirit), this Great Pope died in his apartment in St. Peter's, and with the words "Be Not Afraid" on his lips.

Sometimes it seems so long ago that the great pope, John Paul II, died; and other days it seems like just yesterday.

We were fortunate to get a personal blessing from the Man back on March 24, 2003. We were in Vatican City for a beatification ceremony of an Austrian eye doctor. Our (ITI's) Grand Chancellor, Christoph Cardinal Schoenborn, arranged for us to be personally blessed by JP2 in the Paul VIth Hall the day after the beatification.

This is how I remember JP2 looking that March day -- increasingly crippled by the Parkinson's that would end his suffering on Earth, having to hold his head up with his left hand.

But when the good Cardinal introduced our baby, Johannes-Paul Stephan (who turned four months that same day) to the man for whom we had named him -- the Pontiff's smile and light in his eyes showed the burning love and life in the crippled shell. This man, who would lead our Church another 3 years, who offered his daily sufferings for his Church and her people, burned with an inner passion and love of us all, but especially the children. I was privileged to see that on March 24 2003 and I will never forget it!

JP2, we honor you today, on the 2nd anniversary of your leaving this vale of tears, wrapped in Our Lady's loving arms. We have pictures, books and memories of your shepherding our Church through some rough times ... of building up our Church with the young people who will carry Her through this new millenium ... of the great sufferings you hid from the World ... Papa, we miss you and pray to you and know you are in a much better place -- but, know that we will NEVER forget you and your work for the Catholic Church!

Here is the prayer JP2 reportedly prayed daily to Our Lady, the Blessed Mother:

Totus Tuus ego sum

Et omnia mea Tua sunt.

Accipio Te in mea omnia.

Praebe mihi cor Tuum, Maria!


I belong to you entirely
and all that I possess is yours.
I take you into everything that is mine.
Give me your heart, Mary!

Also, if you are interested in helping/tracking JP2's cause for beatification/canonization, please see the official site of the Diocese of Rome.
UPDATE: And if you get a chance, go check out the Loveliness of John Paul II Fair that Sarah hosted over at "Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering" -- it's a truly beautiful and fitting tribute to this great man!


Ana Braga-Henebry said...

I loved this post-- how interesting-- do you have a picture of little Johannes-Paul with the great John Paul? I also visited the cartoon blog--loved the Al Gore one. He is very talented indeed.

just another day in paradise said...


Karen E. said...

What a great post, Mary!