Saturday, October 22, 2011

Blessed Pope John Paul II 1st official Feastday!

The Church celebrates the first memorial for Blessed Pope John Paul II today. (May 18, 1920 - April 2, 2005)
Oct. 22, 1978, was the day he was installed as Pope and the date chosen for his feast.

He was born Karol Józef Wojtyłla in a small Polish town called Wadowice, the youngest of three children. His mother died when he was eight and he moved to Krakow with his father. In his young adulthood, he had a passion for acting and the theater, both performing and writing. The Nazi invasion of Poland changed everyone's lives and after his father's death he felt a calling for the priesthood. Much of his study was done in secret for at times he had to hide from the occupying German army but this increased his resolve. He was ordained November 1, 1946 in Krakow and sent to study theology in Rome where he earned a doctorate in sacred theology. He was appointed Archbishop of Krakow in 1964. He was elected Pope on October 16, 1978 and served until his death on April 2, 2005. His writings and his life had a major effect on the Catholic Church and the world. He wrote about theology, social issues and the dignity of women and upheld the traditional values of the Church. He was the most traveled Pope in history and attracted large crowds wherever he visited. He inspired the Solidarity movement in Poland which would lead to the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union. He made a particular effort to identify with the young people in the Church and established World Youth Day in 1984. He also tried to heal the differences between the major religions by finding common ground between them. He was wounded in an assassination attempt in 1981 and later forgave the gunman. He was one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. His last words were, "Let me depart to the house of the Father." He was Beatified on May 1, 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Vatican Radio today offered two tributes to the Polish Pontiff.
The first focused on the Holy Father's prayer life. It was an interview from the archives with Cardinal Roberto Tucci, who organized many of the Pontiff's trips abroad.
The second tribute focused on the Pope's personality, drawing from the personal experiences of papal biographer George Weigel and Vatican reporter John Allen.
Weigel described the Polish Pontiff as "relentlessly curious," and said he was constantly looking ahead -- that there was nothing "nostalgic" about his personality. This trait, however, Weigel characterized as a reflection of the Holy Father's Christian faith: "He really believed that Providence was at work in history and therefore he wanted to know what was going on because that allowed him insights into how the divine will was working itself out in perhaps surprising ways at this moment in time."
Allen, for his part, shared an insight into the Pope's capacity as a communicator, when the Holy Father was able to put him at ease during their first personal interview.

Why not offer a rosary today, asking for his intercession and in thanks for all he worked for?

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