After celebrating Mass in St. Peter's Square and beatifying Pope John Paul II today, Benedict XVI greeted the crowds in various languages before praying the midday Regina Caeli.
In English, he said:
I greet the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Mass. In a particular way I welcome the distinguished civil authorities and representatives of the world’s nations who join us in honouring Blessed John Paul II. May his example of firm faith in Christ, the Redeemer of Man, inspire us to live fully the new life which we celebrate at Easter, to be icons of divine mercy, and to work for a world in which the dignity and rights of every man, woman and child are respected and promoted. Trusting in his prayers, I cordially invoke upon you and your families the peace of the Risen Saviour!
He concluded in Italian:
Finally, I address a cordial greeting to the president of the Italian Republic and his entourage, with a special thanks to the Italian authorities for their appreciated cooperation in organizing these days of celebration. And how could I not mention here all of those who have been preparing this event for a long time and with great generosity: my Diocese of Rome with Cardinal Vallini, the municipality of the city with its mayor, all of the security teams and the various organizations, associations, the numerous volunteers and whoever made themselves available to offer help, even individually. My grateful thoughts also go out to the Vatican institutions and offices. In such efforts I see a sign of great love for John Paul II.
Finally, I offer my most affectionate greeting to all of the pilgrims – gathered in St. Peter’s Square, in the nearby streets and in various parts of Rome – and to those who join us through radio and television, whose directors and operators have spared nothing to make it possible even for those farthest away to participate in this great day. To the sick and the elderly, toward whom the newly beatified [John Paul II] felt particularly close, a special greeting. And now in spiritual union with John Paul II, we turn with love to Mary Most Holy, entrusting to her, Mother of the Church, the journey of the whole People of God.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Six years ago we gathered in this Square to celebrate the funeral of Pope John Paul II. Our grief at his loss was deep, but even greater was our sense of an immense grace which embraced Rome and the whole world: a grace which was in some way the fruit of my beloved predecessor's entire life, and especially of his witness in suffering. Even then we perceived the fragrance of his sanctity, and in any number of ways God's People showed their veneration for him. For this reason, with all due respect for the Church's canonical norms, I wanted his cause of beatification to move forward with reasonable haste. And now the longed-for day has come; it came quickly because this is what was pleasing to the Lord: John Paul II is blessed!
I would like to offer a cordial greeting to all of you who on this happy occasion have come in such great numbers to Rome from all over the world - cardinals, patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churches, brother bishops and priests, official delegations, ambassadors and civil authorities, consecrated men and women and lay faithful, and I extend that greeting to all those who join us by radio and television.
Today is the Second Sunday of Easter, which Blessed John Paul II entitled Divine Mercy Sunday. The date was chosen for today's celebration because, in God's providence, my predecessor died on the vigil of this feast. Today is also the first day of May, Mary's month, and the liturgical memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker. All these elements serve to enrich our prayer, they help us in our pilgrimage through time and space; but in heaven a very different celebration is taking place among the angels and saints! Even so, God is but one, and one too is Christ the Lord, who like a bridge joins earth to heaven. At this moment we feel closer than ever, sharing as it were in the liturgy of heaven.
"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe" (Jn 20:29). In today's Gospel Jesus proclaims this beatitude: the beatitude of faith. For us, it is particularly striking because we are gathered to celebrate a beatification, but even more so because today the one proclaimed blessed is a Pope, a Successor of Peter, one who was called to confirm his brethren in the faith. John Paul II is blessed because of his faith, a strong, generous and apostolic faith. We think at once of another beatitude: "Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven" (Mt 16:17). What did our heavenly Father reveal to Simon? That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Because of this faith, Simon becomes Peter, the rock on which Jesus can build his Church. The eternal beatitude of John Paul II, which today the Church rejoices to proclaim, is wholly contained in these sayings of Jesus: "Blessed are you, Simon" and "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe!" It is the beatitude of faith, which John Paul II also received as a gift from God the Father for the building up of Christ's Church.
Our thoughts turn to yet another beatitude, one which appears in the Gospel before all others. It is the beatitude of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer. Mary, who had just conceived Jesus, was told by Saint Elizabeth: "Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord" (Lk 1:45). The beatitude of faith has its model in Mary, and all of us rejoice that the beatification of John Paul II takes place on this first day of the month of Mary, beneath the maternal gaze of the one who by her faith sustained the faith of the Apostles and constantly sustains the faith of their successors, especially those called to occupy the Chair of Peter. Mary does not appear in the accounts of Christ's resurrection, yet hers is, as it were, a continual, hidden presence: she is the Mother to whom Jesus entrusted each of his disciples and the entire community. In particular we can see how Saint John and Saint Luke record the powerful, maternal presence of Mary in the passages preceding those read in today's Gospel and first reading. In the account of Jesus' death, Mary appears at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:25), and at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles she is seen in the midst of the disciples gathered in prayer in the Upper Room (Acts 1:14).
Today's second reading also speaks to us of faith. Saint Peter himself, filled with spiritual enthusiasm, points out to the newly-baptized the reason for their hope and their joy. I like to think how in this passage, at the beginning of his First Letter, Peter does not use language of exhortation; instead, he states a fact. He writes: "you rejoice", and he adds: "you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls" (1 Pet 1:6, 8-9). All these verbs are in the indicative, because a new reality has come about in Christ's resurrection, a reality to which faith opens the door. "This is the Lord's doing", says the Psalm (118:23), and "it is marvelous in our eyes", the eyes of faith.
Dear brothers and sisters, today our eyes behold, in the full spiritual light of the risen Christ, the beloved and revered figure of John Paul II. Today his name is added to the host of those whom he proclaimed saints and blesseds during the almost twenty-seven years of his pontificate, thereby forcefully emphasizing the universal vocation to the heights of the Christian life, to holiness, taught by the conciliar Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium. All of us, as members of the people of God - bishops, priests, deacons, laity, men and women religious - are making our pilgrim way to the heavenly homeland where the Virgin Mary has preceded us, associated as she was in a unique and perfect way to the mystery of Christ and the Church. Karol Wojtyła took part in the Second Vatican Council, first as an auxiliary Bishop and then as Archbishop of Kraków. He was fully aware that the Council's decision to devote the last chapter of its Constitution on the Church to Mary meant that the Mother of the Redeemer is held up as an image and model of holiness for every Christian and for the entire Church. This was the theological vision which Blessed John Paul II discovered as a young man and subsequently maintained and deepened throughout his life. A vision which is expressed in the scriptural image of the crucified Christ with Mary, his Mother, at his side. This icon from the Gospel of John (19:25-27) was taken up in the episcopal and later the papal coat-of-arms of Karol Wojtyła: a golden cross with the letter "M" on the lower right and the motto "Totus tuus", drawn from the well-known words of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort in which Karol Wojtyła found a guiding light for his life: "Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt. Accipio te in mea omnia. Praebe mihi cor tuum, Maria - I belong entirely to you, and all that I have is yours. I take you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart" (Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, 266).
In his Testament, the new Blessed wrote: "When, on 16 October 1978, the Conclave of Cardinals chose John Paul II, the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, said to me: 'The task of the new Pope will be to lead the Church into the Third Millennium'". And the Pope added: "I would like once again to express my gratitude to the Holy Spirit for the great gift of the Second Vatican Council, to which, together with the whole Church - and especially with the whole episcopate - I feel indebted. I am convinced that it will long be granted to the new generations to draw from the treasures that this Council of the twentieth century has lavished upon us. As a Bishop who took part in the Council from the first to the last day, I desire to entrust this great patrimony to all who are and will be called in the future to put it into practice. For my part, I thank the Eternal Shepherd, who has enabled me to serve this very great cause in the course of all the years of my Pontificate". And what is this "cause"? It is the same one that John Paul II presented during his first solemn Mass in Saint Peter's Square in the unforgettable words: "Do not be afraid! Open, open wide the doors to Christ!" What the newly-elected Pope asked of everyone, he was himself the first to do: society, culture, political and economic systems he opened up to Christ, turning back with the strength of a titan - a strength which came to him from God - a tide which appeared irreversible. By his witness of faith, love and apostolic courage, accompanied by great human charisma, this exemplary son of Poland helped believers throughout the world not to be afraid to be called Christian, to belong to the Church, to speak of the Gospel. In a word: he helped us not to fear the truth, because truth is the guarantee of liberty. To put it even more succinctly: he gave us the strength to believe in Christ, because Christ is Redemptor hominis, the Redeemer of man. This was the theme of his first encyclical, and the thread which runs though all the others.
When Karol Wojtyła ascended to the throne of Peter, he brought with him a deep understanding of the difference between Marxism and Christianity, based on their respective visions of man. This was his message: man is the way of the Church, and Christ is the way of man. With this message, which is the great legacy of the Second Vatican Council and of its "helmsman", the Servant of God Pope Paul VI, John Paul II led the People of God across the threshold of the Third Millennium, which thanks to Christ he was able to call "the threshold of hope". Throughout the long journey of preparation for the great Jubilee he directed Christianity once again to the future, the future of God, which transcends history while nonetheless directly affecting it. He rightly reclaimed for Christianity that impulse of hope which had in some sense faltered before Marxism and the ideology of progress. He restored to Christianity its true face as a religion of hope, to be lived in history in an "Advent" spirit, in a personal and communitarian existence directed to Christ, the fullness of humanity and the fulfillment of all our longings for justice and peace.
Finally, on a more personal note, I would like to thank God for the gift of having worked for many years with Blessed Pope John Paul II. I had known him earlier and had esteemed him, but for twenty-three years, beginning in 1982 after he called me to Rome to be Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I was at his side and came to revere him all the more. My own service was sustained by his spiritual depth and by the richness of his insights. His example of prayer continually impressed and edified me: he remained deeply united to God even amid the many demands of his ministry. Then too, there was his witness in suffering: the Lord gradually stripped him of everything, yet he remained ever a "rock", as Christ desired. His profound humility, grounded in close union with Christ, enabled him to continue to lead the Church and to give to the world a message which became all the more eloquent as his physical strength declined. In this way he lived out in an extraordinary way the vocation of every priest and bishop to become completely one with Jesus, whom he daily receives and offers in the Church.
Blessed are you, beloved Pope John Paul II, because you believed! Continue, we implore you, to sustain from heaven the faith of God's people. You often blessed us in this Square from the Apostolic Palace: Bless us, Holy Father! Amen.
Karol Józef Wojtyła, elected to the Papacy on October 16, 1978, was born in Wadowice (Poland) on May 18, 1920.
He was the second of two children born to Karol Wojtyła and Emilia Kaczorowska. His mother died in 1929. His older brother, Edmund, a doctor, died in 1932 followed by his father, an under official of the Armed Forces, who died in 1941.
At the age of nine Karol made his First Holy Communion, followed at the age of eighteen by the sacrament of Confirmation. After having completed high school in Wadowice, he enrolled as a student at the Jagiellonian University of Cracow in 1938.
Following the occupation by the Nazi forces and the University's closure in 1939, the young Karol was forced to earn a living by working in a mine and in the Solvay chemical factory in order to avoid deportation to Germany.
Starting in 1942, after having felt the call to the priesthood, Karol began secretly to frequent courses at the clandestine Major Seminary in Cracow, directed by the Archbishop, Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha. At the same time, he was also one of the promoters of the clandestine "Rhapsodic Theater".
After the war, Karol continued his studies at Cracow's Major Seminary which had been reopened, and then at the Faculty of Theology of the Jagiellonian University until his priestly ordination in Cracow on November 1, 1946. He was then sent to Rome by Cardinal Sapieha where he pursued a Doctorate in Theology (1948), with a thesis on the topic of faith in the works of St. John of the Cross. During that time, in vacation periods, he exercised his pastoral ministry among Polish immigrants in France, Belgium and Holland.
In 1948, he returned to Poland and was at first assistant priest in the parish of Niegowić, near Cracow, and then in the Church of Saint Florian in the same city. As University Chaplain until 1951, he continued to study both Philosophy and Theology. In 1953, he presented a thesis at the Catholic University of Lublin on the "Evaluation of the Possibility of Constructing a Christian Ethic on the Ethical System of Max Scheler". Later, he would become Professor of Moral Theology and Ethics at the Major Seminary of Cracow and at the Theological Faculty of Lublin.
On July 4, 1958, he was nominated by Pope Pius XII as Auxiliary Bishop of Cracow and Titular Bishop of Ombi. He was ordained Bishop on September 28, 1958 in the Cathedral of Wawel (Cracow) by Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak.
On January 13, 1964, he was nominated as Archbishop of Cracow by Pope Paul VI, who also later made him a Cardinal on June 26, 1967.
Wojtyła also participated in the Second Vatican Council (1962 65), at which he made an important contribution to the preparation of the ConstitutionGaudium et Spes. Preceding his Pontificate, Wojtyła would also take part in five assemblies of the Synod of Bishops.
He was elected to the Papacy on October 16, 1978. On October 22nd he began his ministry as Shepherd of the Universal Church.
Pope John Paul II made 146 pastoral visits in Italy and as Bishop of Rome he visited 317 of the 332 parishes in Rome. The apostolic trips made throughout the world, an expression of his constant pastoral solicitude as Successor of St. Peter for the whole Church, added up to a total of 104.
Among the primary documents which he wrote are: 14 Encyclicals, 15 Apostolic Exhortations, 11 Apostolic Constitutions and 45 Apostolic Letters. He also wrote numerous other works including
five books: "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" (October 1994), "Gift and Mystery: on the Fiftieth Anniversary of My Priesthood" (November 1996), "Roman Triptych: Meditations" (March 2003), "Rise, Let us be on our way!" (May 2004), and "Memory and Identity" (February 2005).
Pope John Paul II presided over 147 Beatifications, declaring 1,338 beatified and 51 Canonizations, proclaiming a total of 482 saints. He also officiated in nine Consistories thereby creating 231 (plus 1 "in pectore") Cardinals and presided at six plenary reunions of the College of Cardinals.
Beginning in 1978, he convoked 15 Assemblies of the Synod of Bishops: six Ordinary General Assemblies (1980, 1983, 1987, 1990; 1994 and 2001), one Extraordinary General Assembly (1985) and eight Special Assemblies (1980, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998  and 1999).
On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II was the victim of an attack in St. Peter's Square. Having been saved by the maternal hand of the Mother of God, and following a long recovery, he forgave his attacker. Grateful for the gift of new life, he intensified his pastoral work with heroic generosity.
His solicitude as pastor was expressed, moreover, in the erection of numerous dioceses and ecclesiastical circumscriptions, as well as by the promulgation of the Codes of Canon Law for the Latin Catholic and Eastern Catholic Churches. As an encouragement to the People of God, he also inaugurated moments of particular spiritual intensity such as the Year of the Redemption, the Marian Year, and the Eucharistic Year as well as the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. He also attracted younger generations by the celebration of World Youth Days.
No other Pope had ever encountered as many people as John Paul II: the number of pilgrims at the Wednesday General Audiences alone (more than 1,160 audiences) came to over 17 million pilgrims, to say nothing of the special audiences and other religious services (the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 alone saw the arrival of 8 million pilgrims), and the other millions of faithful that he met during apostolic visits in Italy or throughout the world. Numerous government officials were also received in audience: there were 38 official visits and a further 738 audiences or meetings with Heads of State, along with 246 visits with Prime Ministers.
John Paul II died in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace on Saturday, April 2, 2005 at 9:37 p.m., on the Vigil of the Sundayin Albis, also commemorated as Divine Mercy Sunday, which he had instituted. On April 8th, John Paul II was buried in the Vatican Grotto following the solemn funeral celebrated in St. Peter's Square.
In June 2001, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. The disease had affected the whole left side of my body, creating great difficulties for me as I am left-handed. After three years, the initial phase of the disease, slow but progressive, was followed by an aggravation of the symptoms: accentuation of the trembling, rigidity, pain, insomnia.
From April 2, 2005, I began to worsen week by week, I grew worse day by day, I was unable to write (I repeat that I am left-handed), and if I attempted it, what I wrote was unintelligible. I could drive only for short trips because my left leg would stiffen sometimes, and my rigidity would have impeded my driving. Moreover, to do my work in a hospital, it took more time than usual. I was exhausted.
After learning my diagnosis, it was difficult for me to watch John Paul II on television. However, I felt very close to him in prayer and I knew he could understand what I was going through. I also admired his strength and courage, which motivated me not to give in and to love this suffering, because without love none of this made sense. I can say that it was a daily struggle, but my only wish was to live it with faith and in loving adherence to the will of the Father.
At Easter (2005) I wanted to watch our Holy Father on television because I knew, in my deepest self, that it would be the last time. I prepared myself the whole morning for this "meeting" knowing that it would be very difficult for me, as it would make me see how I would be in a few years. It was even harder for me being relatively young. However, an unexpected service impeded my seeing him.
On the afternoon of April 2, the whole community gathered to take part in the Vigil of Prayer in St. Peter's Square, broadcasted live by the French television of the Diocese of Paris (KTO) ... All of us together heard the announcement of John Paul II's death. At that moment, the world caved in on me. I had lost the friend who understood me and who gave me the strength to keep going. In the following days, I had the sensation of an enormous void, but also the certainty of his living presence.
On May 13, feast of Our Lady of Fatima, Benedict XVI announced the special dispensation to initiate the cause of beatification of John Paul II. Beginning the following day, the sisters of all the French and African communities began to pray for my cure through the intercession of John Paul II. They prayed incessantly until the news arrived of my cure.
At that time I was on vacation. On May 26, my time of rest being at an end, I returned totally exhausted by the disease. "If you believe, you will see the glory of God": this phrase of St. John's Gospel accompanied me from May 14 onward.
On June 1, I was finished; I struggled to stand and to walk. On June 2 in the afternoon, I went to find my superior to ask her if I could leave my work. She encouraged me to endure a bit longer until my return from Lourdes in August, and she added: "John Paul II has not yet said his last word" (John Paul II was surely there, in that meeting which passed in serenity and peace). Then, Mother Superior gave me a pen and told me to write: "John Paul II." It was 5 o'clock in the afternoon. With effort, I wrote: "John Paul II." We remained in silence before the illegible letters, then the day continued as usual.
At the end of the evening prayer, at 9 o'clock at night, I went to my office before going to my room. I felt the need to pick up the pen and to write, just as if someone within me was saying: "Pick up the pen and write." It was between 9:30 and 9:40 at night. To my great surprise I saw that the writing was clearly legible. Not understanding anything, I went to bed. Two months exactly had gone by since John Paul II's departure to the House of the Father. I woke up at 4:30 a.m., surprised that I was able to sleep and I leapt out of bed: my body was no longer insensitive, rigid, and interiorly I was not the same.
Then, I felt an interior call and the strong impulse to go to pray before the Most Blessed Sacrament. I went down to the Oratory and prayed before the Most Blessed Sacrament. I felt a profound peace and a sensation of well-being; too great an experience, a mystery difficult to explain with words.
Later, before the Most Blessed Sacrament, I meditated on John Paul II's Mysteries of Light. At 6 o'clock in the morning, I went out to meet with the sisters in the chapel for a time of prayer, which was followed by the Eucharistic celebration.
I had to walk some 50 meters and at that very moment I realized that, as I walked, my left arm was moving, it was not immobile next to my body. I also felt a physical lightness and agility that I had not felt for a long time.
During the Eucharistic celebration I was full of joy and peace; it was June 3, feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Coming out from Holy Mass, I was sure of my cure; my hand did not shake any more. I went to write again and at midday I stopped taking my medicines.
On June 7, as planned, I went to my neurologist, my doctor for the past four years. He was also surprised to see the disappearance of all the symptoms of the disease, despite my having interrupted the treatment five days earlier. The next day the Superior General entrusted an act of thanksgiving to all our communities, and the entire congregation began a thanksgiving novena to John Paul II.
Ten months have passed now since I interrupted all types of treatment. I am working normally again, I have no difficulty in writing and I also drive long distances. It feels as if I have been reborn: a new life, because nothing is as it was before.
Today I can say that my friend has left our earth, but is now much closer to my heart. He has made the desire grow in me of adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament and love of the Eucharist, which have a priority place in my daily life.
What the Lord has granted me through the intercession of John Paul II is a great mystery difficult to explain with words -- something very great and profound -- but nothing is impossible for God.
Yes. "If you believe, you will see the glory of God."
[Translation by ZENIT]
Dear brothers and sisters!
Divine Providence gives us this evening the joy of a great experience of grace and light. With this Marian prayer vigil we hope to prepare ourselves for tomorrow’s celebration, the solemn beatification of the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II. Even though it has been six years since the death of the great Pope—Bishop of Rome and Pastor of the universal Church for 27 years—his memory is particularly vibrant. We feel veneration, affection, admiration, and deep gratitude for the beloved pontiff.
We, above all, remember his witness of faith: a convinced and strong faith, free from fear or compromises, true until his last breath, forged by trails, fatigue, and illness, whose beneficent influence has spread throughout the Church, indeed, throughout the world. His witness, through his apostolic travels, inspired millions of men and women of all races and cultures.
He lived for God. He offered himself entirely to God to serve the Church as a sacrificial offering. He would often repeat this prayer: "Jesus, Pontiff, who handed himself to God as offering and victim, have mercy on us". His great desire was to become more and more one with Christ the Priest through the Eucharistic sacrifice from which he drew strength and courage for his tireless apostolic action. Christ was the beginning, the center, and the apex of each of his days.
Christ was the sense and the purpose of his actions. From Christ he drew energy and fullness of humanity. This explains the need and the desire he had for prayer: Each of his days was dedicated to long hours of prayer and his work was penetrated and infused by prayer.
In this faith, which he lived in his most inner being, we can understand the mystery of the suffering that marked him from when he was young and which purified him like gold that is tested by fire (1Pt 1:7). We were all amazed by the docility of spirit with which he faced the pilgrimage of his disease, even to the point of agony and death.
He was witness to the tragic age of big ideologies, totalitarian regimes, and from their passing John Paul II embraced the harsh suffering, marked by tension and contradictions, of the transition of the modern age toward a new phase of history, showing constant concern that the human person be its protagonist. He was a staunch and credible defender of the human person to the nations and the international institutions, which respected him and have paid him homage, recognizing him as a messenger of justice and peace.
With his gaze fixed on Christ, the Redeemer of humanity, he believed in humanity and showed his openness, trust, and closeness. He loved the human person, pushing us to develop in ourselves the potential of faith to live as free persons, cooperating in the realization of a more just and caring humanity, as workers for peace and builders of hope. Convinced that only the spiritual experience can satisfy humanity he said: the fate of every person and of all peoples is tied to Christ, the only liberator and Savior.
In his first encyclical he wrote: "Man cannot live without love. … His life [remains] senseless, if love is not revealed to him … Christ the Redeemer "fully reveals man to himself" (RH, 10). He began his pontificate with these vibrant words: "Don’t be afraid! Open, open wide the doors to Christ! … Christ knows what is in the human person. Only he knows!". These words bear witness that he believed that God’s love is inseparable from the love for humans and their salvation.
In his extraordinary energy of love for humanity he loved, with a kind and tender love, all those "wounded by life", as he called the poor, the sick, the nameless, and those excluded a priori—but he had a particular love for the youth. His calls for the World Youth Days had the purpose of making youth into the protagonists of their own future, becoming builders of history. The youth, he said, are the wealth of the Church and of society. He invited them to prepare for the big choices to be made, to look ahead with confidence, trusting in their own abilities and following Christ and the Gospel.
Dear brothers and sisters, we all know John Paul II’s singular devotion to the Madonna. The motto on the coat of arms of his pontificate, Totus tuus, summarizes well his life, which was oriented toward Christ by means of Mary: ad Iesum per Mariam. As the disciple John, the "beloved disciple", under the Cross at the Redeemer’s death, took Mary into his home (Jn 19:26–27), John Paul II wanted to always keep Mary mystically close to himself, making her part of his life and his ministry, feeling embraced and loved by her.
The remembrance of our beloved pontiff, prophet of hope, should not mean a return to the past for us, but let us make the most of his human and spiritual heritage; let it be an impetus to look forward. May the words that he wrote in his apostolic letter Novo millennio ineunte from the great Jubilee Year of 2000 resound in our hearts: "Let us go forward in hope! A new millennium is opening before the Church like a vast ocean upon which we shall venture, relying on the help of Christ. The Son of God … is at work even today: we need discerning eyes to see this and, above all, a generous heart to become the instruments of his work."
The Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, so dear to Pope John Paul II, whom we now call upon in the praying of the Rosary, help us, in every circumstance, to be witnesses of Christ and proclaimers of God's love in the world. Amen.