.- Polish Catholic leaders reacted to the announcement of John Paul IIâs beatification with enthusiasm and gratitude, praising the late Popeâs example to Poland and to the Church. The Archbishop of New York also reacted with âgreat joyâ as he recalled memories of the Popeâs visits.
In a Jan. 14 audience Pope Benedict XVI approved the decree for the beatification of his predecessor. Doctors studied the miraculous healing of Sr. Marie Simon Pierre Normand and ruled it was âscientifically unexplainable.â Following approval from theologians and church officials, Pope Benedict promulgated the decree.
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, John Paul IIâs longtime personal secretary, expressed the âgreat pleasureâ of the entire Archdiocese of Krakow and of the entire Polish people. He expressed âa huge thank youâ to Pope Benedict XVI for the decree confirming the miracle.
He invoked the Italian phrase âsanto subito,â which roughly means âsaint now.â It was a phrase on the lips of many of John Paul IIâs mourners who wanted him declared a saint immediately after his death. This phrase has been âfulfilled,â the cardinal said in a statement from the archdiocese.
"For us, John Paul II is a patron and protector. The life of the Holy Father was our guide to the direction of the sovereignty and independence of our country."
âToday we need such a guide, because in today's world it is not easy,â he commented.
The Polish bishops reacted to the decree of beatification with âjoy and hope,â the Archdiocese of Warsaw reported. Bishopsâ spokesman Fr. Jozef Kloch called the announcement âgood news,â as John Paul II was a role model both as a man and as a Christian.
Fr. Kloch voiced hope that his teachings will be remembered, as they can âunite us againâ in what is important both for the Church and for Poland.
In Katowice, Poland the faithful gathered at 9 p.m. in the crypt of the Cathedral of Christ the King. They held a candlelight procession to the nearby statue of John Paul II and then returned to the cathedral for prayers.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York gave an American reaction to the beatification announcement on his blog âThe Gospel in the Digital Age.â
The announcement of John Paul IIâs beatification is âan occasion of great joy and grace,â he wrote. Archbishop Dolan recalled the Popeâs three visits to New York.
âIn so many ways we consider him to have been an honorary citizen of what he famously referred to as âThe Capital of the Worldâ,â the archbishop said. He recalled the late pontiffâs visits to St. Patrickâs Cathedral, his celebrations of Mass in Yankee Stadium in Central Park, his visit to St. Charles Borromeo Church in Harlem and to St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers.
These visits are âstill fresh in our minds,â Archbishop Dolan continued. He recounted stories from people across the globe whose eyes âstill sparkle with grateful memories.â
He said that those who had the chance to meet John Paul II felt that âthat for those moments he was focused completely and totally on you, and that he truly saw in you a reflection of the image and likeness of God.â
The New York archbishop asked for prayers that John Paul II will soon be raised to the altars and be declared a blessed and eventually a saint of the Church.
John Paul IIâs beatification was approved for May 1, 2011, Divine Mercy Sunday.