22 October 2012

Blessed John Paul II

Today is the commemoration of Blessed John Paul II.  It's remarkable to me to be keeping the liturgical commemoration of someone whom I have met, with whom I have celebrated Mass, and with whom I have spoken.  There is a brief story of this on the side bar of this blog, which says:
"With all my heart, I bless you and your people..."
In 1983 I was a newly-ordained priest. In November of that year, it was my privilege to be in Rome to take part in developing The Book of Divine Worship. During that time an invitation was extended to celebrate Mass with His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, in his private chapel. After we had said Mass, and in those few moments I had with the Holy Father, he told me that he remembered considering the request for my ordination, and he described how he came to an affirmative decision. For me, our brief conversation was an experience which will be treasured forever. At the conclusion of our time together, I asked him if I could take his blessing back to the people of my parish. His very simple words remain precious to me: "With all my heart, I bless you and your people." He then embraced me, and I knew that I was forever "home in my Father's house."
There is a window near the pulpit which commemorates this, and here are a few pictures showing the details.
The Coat of Arms of Ven. John Paul II is at the top,
connected by the grape vine to our parish symbol of the Pelican.
The words spoken to me by the Holy Father:

The date and place:

Detail showing the Pelican (a symbol of the Atonement):

The name of the parish and the date of its founding:

The blessing given to us by the Holy Father has been wonderfully fruitful over these past several years, and we ask for his continuing intercession.  Blessed John Paul II, pray for us.