On 27 April last we had the canonisations of two Second Vatican Council popes, John XXIII and John Paul II. I would like to take the occasion to dwell on the figure of Saint John Paul II and, in particular, to show how he was closely connected to the Pontifical Council for the Laity from the time of its creation.
Much continues to be written and said about John Paul II. There is an impressive number of biographies published in different languages and written by Catholics and non-Catholics alike, believers and even non-believers. Each of them was attracted to this extraordinary figure. It is not for nothing that a journalist said that he was “a pope who never dies”! It is true that this pope continues to be alive and present in the Church. Now, with his canonisation, we have a model of Christian life to follow and a powerful intercessor to whom we can entrust every spiritual and material need. How is it that Pope John Paul II continues to fascinate people all over the world? What does he mean for the Church and for humanity?
In John Paul II we were able to contemplate the face of Christ the Good Shepherd. I think that this was the “secret” that made him so extraordinary. He was really a good shepherd who knew his sheep. He walked ahead of them with courage, undaunted by the risks. He was prepared to give his life for his sheep, even to shedding his blood.
Twenty five years have passed since Pope John Paul II celebrated World Youth Day in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela. On August 18th and 19th, 1989 the Pope led the celebration along with more than 500,000 youths.
It was the first time Spain hosted WYD. The theme was "I am the Way, the Truth and Life.'