.- Just hours after Pope John Paul II’s death at the Vatican Saturday, Bishop Samuel Aquila, of the Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota added his voice to the millions worldwide who are praising the Pope as ‘John Paul the Great.’
Bishop Aquila, who was a priest in the Archdiocese of Denver during the Holy Father’s 1993 visit there, said that, “Even in infirmity he continued to boldly lead the Church and her faithful across the threshold of a new millennium, giving hope to the world and Church by his faithful witness to Jesus Christ.”
The bishop noted that, “Throughout his priestly and episcopal life and during the 26 years of his pontificate, Pope John Paul II has given the Catholic Church and the world a faithful example of what it means to be a good shepherd and loving father of his flock.”
“Through the exercise of his papal ministry,” he added, “in his travels, his encyclicals, his devotion to Jesus Christ, the sacramental life of the Church and to Mary, and most of all in his love for young people, he invigorated the life of the Church at the end of the 20th century.
As cardinals from around the world prepare to enter the conclave in which they will elect a new pope, Bishop Aquila encouraged the faithful to “look with confidence to the Holy Spirit to guide the Church and its cardinals toward the advent of a new papacy and a new chapter in the history of the Catholic Church and the world as we journey to our true home in heaven.”