Cardinal Cipriani: “Benedict XVI is a gift from John Paul II”

.- The Archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, told Peruvians this week “Pope Benedict XVI is a gift from John Paul II, we have loved him since even before [his election],” and he said, “We love him now even more because it is easy to see the reflection of John Paul II in him.”

In his first Mass since the Conclave, the cardinal thanked believers for their prayers and asked they continue praying for the Holy Father.  “Let us not forsake him, let’s accompany him with our prayers,” he stated.

The cardinal presided at Mass at the Cathedral of Lima on the feast of St. Toribio of Mongrovejo, patron of the bishops of Latin America, and he extended Benedict XVI’s blessing to the Peruvian people.

Likewise, he announced that the Archdiocese of Lima will soon be receiving a special memento of John Paul II, which will be one of his white cassocks which he used during his travels and during his daily work.

Recalling the memory of the late Pilgrim Pope, Cardinal Cipriani noted the unity which his death brought to humanity and he expressed gratitude for the work John Paul carried out during his 26 years as shepherd of the Church.

“This is evidence of holiness…we are witnesses of this miracle because there is no explanation for the death of an 84 year-old man, who traveled the earth speaking the truth and doing good, to be felt by millions…John Paul II brought newness to the desire to be holy, with the joy, happiness, simplicity and youthfulness that radiated from him,” the cardinal said.

 After the Mass, the traditional procession with the relics of St. Toribio took place.  The day’s activities marked the beginning of preparations for the 400th anniversary of the death of St. Toribio, which will be celebrated in 2006.

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