First anniversary of the beatification of Blessed Pope John Paul II
Blessed John Paul’s heroic witness of faith, love and courage has helped believers throughout the world not to be afraid; not to be afraid to be called a Christian, not to be afraid to belong to the Church or to speak of the gospel. – Cardinal Seán Brady
Tomorrow, Tuesday 1 May marks the first anniversary of the beatification of Pope John Paul II. Cardinal Brady has issued the following statement to mark the anniversary:
This time last year I was in Rome for the beatification of Pope John Paul II. It was a joyous occasion and today, on the first anniversary, I recall the words of the special prayer for the Beatification: ‘we are here to thank God for having given John Paul II to the Church and for having filled him with the tenderness of the Father, the glory of the cross of Christ and the splendour of the love of the Holy Spirit’
A year later, as we mark the first anniversary of his beatification we continue to give thanks for Blessed John Paul. Blessed John Paul’s heroic witness of faith, love and courage has helped and continues to help believers throughout the world not to be afraid; not to be afraid to be called a Christian, not to be afraid to belong to the Church or to speak of the gospel. The defining words of his ministry were – ‘Do not be afraid – throw open the doors to Christ!’ – spoken from the balcony of St Peter’s just after his election.
Here in the Church in Ireland we continue to give thanks for the vision and hope of an extraordinary man, an outstanding disciple of Jesus Christ who came to our shores as a pilgrim in 1979. He came at a decisive moment in the history of Ireland and we give thanks for the wise direction he gave us when he visited. Many people still recall that visit with fondness and have vivid recollections of travelling to see the Pope even now more than thirty years after the event. Those who attended gatherings across the country will never forget the charisma of the man who came from a far country and spoke the words: ‘Young people of Ireland I love you”.
As we look back at those momentous days, it is extraordinary to realise just how prophetic and far-seeing his message was to us at that time. Perhaps if we had listened to his warnings about excessive greed more carefully and taken to heart his pleas for an end to violence more urgently, some of the worst effects of our current economic crisis and the needless pain of our violent past could have been avoided.
We give thanks for the role John Paul II played in strengthening the faith of so many people across the world. He did it, for example, through the immense legacy of his thought and teaching. No Pope in history has left such a legacy. Firstly his own books in the areas of philosophy and theology both before and after he became Pope. Then, as Pope, he wrote 14 Encyclicals, 39 Apostolic Letters, gave hundreds of audiences and other addresses, oversaw the compilation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, and so much more.
We also remember the dignity with which he faced his illness and ultimately his death.
We commend to the heart of Blessed John Paul, now in heaven – the needs of our country and of the Church in Ireland which he carried so often in his heart here on earth. Just as he came among us at a decisive moment in our history, we ask him to inspire and guide us to the way of Christ – to the way of freedom, hope and renewal – as we face the decisive moment that faces our country and our Church today.
As we mark the first anniversary of the beatification of Pope John Paul II, I wish, in particular, to extend my good wishes to the Polish community here in Ireland and to acknowledge their vibrant contribution to the Church at home and throughout the world.
Notes to editors:
The annual celebration of Blessed John Paul II has been inserted into the liturgical calendars of the Diocese of Rome and all the Dioceses of Poland as a “memorial” to be observed on 22 October.
Prayer for the Intercession of Pope John Paul II
O Holy Trinity,
we thank you for having given to the Church
Pope John Paul II,
and for having made him shine with your fatherly tenderness,
the glory of the Cross of Christ and the splendour of the Spirit of love
He, trusting completely in your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary, has shown himself
in the likeness of Jesus the Good Shepherd
and has pointed out to us holiness
as the path to reach eternal communion with You.
Grant us, through his intercession,
according to your will, the grace that we implore,
in the hope that he will soon be numbered among your saints.
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