BE NOT AFRAID!
These were also the words John Paul II said at his first audience ... and repeated throughout his twenty-six and half years as pontiff. JP2 was always admonishing the faithful to be faith-filled and fearless as God is in control and is a loving Father to us all.
JP2 was a loving father to Christ's Church on Earth ... he particularly loved the little ones. I will never forget the look on his face when we were fortunate enough to meet JP2 in 2003. Crippled with Parkinsons, the Pope still had a light in his eyes that was a beacon of love. As Cardinal Schoenborn introduced BamBam and I, the great pope reached his hands out to my 4-month-old son and namesake, and the light and love was there! A smile as big as his heart lit up his pain-wracked face ... and my 4-month-old responded in kind. Both the good Cardinal and I had tears in our eyes during the short blessing that has left an indelible mark on us all.
Today, there is talk that this great man will receive beatification next year -- on the fifth anniversary of his death -- declaring him a Blessed of the Catholic Church. Here is a prayer for his beatification and ultimate canonization:
God our Father, you reward all who believe in you.
May your servant, John Paul our Pope,
vicar of Peter and Shepherd of your Church,
who faithfully administered the mysteries of your forgiveness and love on earth,
rejoice with you for ever in heaven.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. AMEN!
May I always remember John Paul the Great's admonishment to all the faithful to BE NOT AFRAID ...