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Pope John Paul II

John Paul II – Henceforth Shall Be Called Blessed

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My Pope’s a Blessed!

I remember seeing pictures of Bl. John XXIII in old relative’s houses, have vague recollections of Pope Paul VI, but I will never forget Sr. Mary announcing over the PA system that Pope John Paul died suddenly after only a 33 day reign.  I was in second grade when the whole class-the whole school-at St. Mary’s was glued to the TV waiting for the white smoke.  It was a beehive as the Filippini sisters kept making announcements and scurrying in and out of classrooms.  That’s when I first met my Pope.  We 20…30…errr…40-somethings can say that since JPII was pope for most of our lives.

For all the critics out there who think the pope is santo too subito, was too conservative, too liberal, mishandled the sex abuse response, etc., one thing is indisputable:  Karol Wojtyla lived a life animated by the Gospel…and that is a definition of a saint.  From his childhood struggles, his witness of the horrors and cruelty man can perpetrate against man, his underground pursuit of a priestly vocation, Karol Wojtyla centered his life on Christ and used his extraordinary gifts to preach what he lived.  This man left a mark on history that will be analyzed for decades, theological and philosophical writings that will be read for centuries with the likes of Augustine and Leo, but most importantly, he inspired generations of young people not to be afraid to follow Jesus.

Although I missed a small audience I was invited to attend due to the fact I was arrested by the Caribineiri (a story for another post) I did get to walk in a procession at Mass and sit a short distance from JPII (I have a coffee table book of the Pope’s Italian Marian Shrine tour and I’m clearly in a picture).  I’m overjoyed to see my Pope beatified, and will pray to him to intercede on my behalf that I may keep Christ as the center of my life,  use my talents to make the Gospel known, and live a life of courage to follow Jesus.

O God, who are rich in mercy
and who willed that the Blessed John Paul II
should preside as Pope over your universal Church,
grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching,
we may open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ,
the sole Redeemer of mankind.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.  Amen.

John Paul II, Pray for us

Some links…

Vatican Video – Watch Everything Here
Pope John Paul II’s Tomb Opened
JPII Official Facebook Page
Fr. Barron on What Makes a Saint
Abp. Dolan on Pope John Paul’s Heroic Sanctity
Fr. Martin, SJ on Why a Liberal Catholic Likes JPII
Pope’s Biographer, George Weigel, on Remembering JPII
Bishop Tobin Reflects on the Beatification
Abp. Dolan on JPII Priests


Pope John Paul II Gets Facebook and Youtube Pages

VIS announced that the Vatican has set up a Facebook page and a YouTube page for the upcoming beatification this May 1st of the Venerable John Paul II.


Venerable John Paul II: The Record Breaking Pope


Pope John Paul II to be Beatified May 1

Vatican Information Service announced this morning that Pope Benedict will indeed beatify his predecessor, Karol Wojtyla, on May 1, 2011.  George Weigel writes in the NRO:

Re: John Paul II
By George Weigel
January 14, 2011 10:00 A.M.The Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints has certified a miraculous cure through the intercession of Pope John Paul II, thus clearing the way for the late pontiff’s beatification on May 1. Using the word “miracle” in a broad sense, however, the greatest miracle of John Paul II was to restore a sense of Christian possibility in a world that had consigned Christian conviction to the margins of history.

In 1978, no one expected that the leading figure of the last quarter of the 20th century would be a priest from Poland. Christianity was finished as a world-shaping force, according to the opinion-leaders of the time; it might endure as a vehicle for personal piety, but would play no role in shaping the world of the 21st century. Yet within six months of his election, John Paul II had demonstrated the dramatic capacity of Christianity to create a revolution of conscience that, in turn, created a new and powerful form of politics — the politics that eventually led to the Revolution of 1989 and the liberation of central and eastern Europe.

Beyond that, John Paul II made Christianity compelling and interesting in a world that imagined that humanity had outgrown its “need” for God, Christ, and faith. In virtually every part of the world, John Paul II’s courageous preaching of Jesus Christ as the answer to the question that is every human life drew a positive response, and millions of lives were changed as a result. This was simply not supposed to happen — but it did, through the miracle of conviction wedded to courage.

Then there was John Paul’s social doctrine which, against all expectations, put the Catholic Church at the center of the world’s conversation about the post-Communist future. In 1978, did anyone really expect that papal encyclicals would be debated on the pages of the Wall Street Journal, or that a pope would rivet the world’s attention in two dramatic defenses of the universality of human rights before the United Nations? No one expected that. But it happened.

To make Christianity plausible, compelling, and attractive by preaching the fullness of Christian truth and demonstrating its importance to the human future — that was perhaps the greatest miracle of John Paul II, and his greatest gift to the Church and the world.

— George Weigel is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and biographer of John Paul II. His second volume on the life of the pontiff, The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II — The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy, was released this fall.


"Good morning, my intercessor and my very faithful friend"

A significant part of the “vetting” process the Church prosecutes before declaring a person a Venerable, Blessed or Saint is the proving of a miracle through the person’s intercession. Impartial physicians’ testimony and scientific evidence is gathered to assure the miraculous event was in fact miraculous.  Read this past post for more information on the process.

Deacon Jack Sullivan
Blessed Newman
Such was the case for the cause of Cardinal John Henry Newman when Deacon Jack Sullivan of Massachusetts prayed for his intercession and was cured of chronic, debilitating back pain. This miraculous healing, defying any medical logic, paved the way for Newman’s beatification this past September. Deacon Sullivan proclaimed the Gospel at the beatification Mass.
A second miracle is required before a Blessed is declared a Saint. Though not yet verified, there are several reports of miraculous healings after praying to Blessed Newman.  Deacon Sullivan was asked by the mother of a young girl suffering from incurable reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, a disease characterised by continuous and intense pain that worsens over time.  While watching the beatification ceremony from her hospital bed, the girl’s pain stopped.  Sullivan also reports miraculous happenings at healing ceremonies in which a relic of Blessed Newman is venerated:  a teenage boy was healed from a brain injury sustained in an auto accident and a Detroit man’s liver cancer vanished.  Full story here.  Deacon Sullivan begins his day with, “Good morning, Cardinal Newman, my intercessor and my very faithful friend”.


Sr. Marie Simon-Pierre
Pope John Paul II
Cries for Karol Wojtyla’s canonization were heard as early as during his funeral Mass, “Santo Subito”.  Pope Benedict waived the customary five year waiting period after death and proceeded to fast track his predecessor’s cause.  Declared Venerable in December of 2009, it appears as though JPII will be beatified as early as this year.  Reports have surfaced that the miracle required for beatification has been approved. 
The case involves the healing of a French religious sister from Parkinson’s disease. Sr. Marie Simon-Pierre was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease in 2001. Her order prayed to John Paul II after his death for help. After writing the Pope’s name on a piece of paper one night in June 2005, she reportedly awoke the next morning cured and was able to resume her work as a maternity nurse.
Blessed John Henry Newman and Venerable John Paul II, pray for us!

Popes John Paul II and Pius XII Declared Venerable

As anticipated, Pope Benedict XVI promulgated decrees presented by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints–21 in total.  Pope John Paul II  and a surprise–Pope Pius XII.

I blogged about the process toward sainthood so for a quick review click here.