Brilliant, courageous, teacher, healer-reconciler, prolific,
world traveled, guardian of divinely revealed truth, globally loved, admired, shepherd,
theologian, protector of the unborn, friend of the young, guardian of the aged, the infirmed,
the poor, the weak, Vicar of Christ, Servant of the Servants of God, priest, bishop, pope.
These are a few, but perhaps some of the more significant terms and titles that identify and
describe one of the greatest men to grace the world stage during the twentieth and twenty-first
centuries, our late and beloved Pope John Paul II - Karol Jozef Wojtyla - son of Poland, child of Mary,
brother of Jesus, Pastor of the Universal Church, gift to the world.
I write simply as a priest whose vocation was
fostered, nourished, brought to fruition, and until just a few days ago,
exercised under the pontificate of this most remarkable man of God. Under the
pontificate and in the light which shone through Pope John Paul II are to be
found many vocations such as mine. We are the priests who will forever be in
debt to the Pope who came from a far country to shepherd the flock of Peter in
the Eternal City and throughout the world. Many greater minds belonging to
theologians, historians, political scientists and the like will reflect on the
life and thought of this Pope. They will rightly examine his life and influence
in light of the impact it has had on their respective disciplines. But on the
eve of the celebration of the Mass of Requiem for our beloved Pontiff, I simply
reflect on what he has meant to me.
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