.- Hundreds of faithful gathered at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Denver overflowed onto Colfax Ave. last evening as they joined millions around the world in mourning the death of Pope John Paul II. Archbishop Charles Chaput, during his homily at yesterdayâs packed and tear-filled Divine Mercy Sunday Mass said that, âa man like John Paul II comes maybe once in a century.â
âGodâ, he continued, âput him into a century that had forgotten how to be humanâ¦.But despite the suffering he saw, [John Paul] radiated hope.â
âFor usâ, the Archbishop said, âhe was a father, a pastor, a man who loved people with a warmth and compassionâ¦that many of us knew personally from his visit in 1993.â
Recently, Archbishop Chaput said that the Popeâs visit to Denver in 1993 for World Youth Day was âa Transfiguration for the Church in Northern Colorado - a moment when Jesus smiled on us in a special, joyful, vivid way and invited us into his mission to the world.â
The archbishop reflected on the significance of the Holy Fatherâs death falling on the eve of the feast of Divine Mercyâa feast, which the Pope had personally instituted and had a great devotion to.
âI donât think God called him home on this day by accidentâ, the archbishop said. âHe did it as a gift both to him and to us.â
25-year old Jacob Welp, was among those who had gathered to remember the Pope. He told CNA that he feels as though he has âlost a father in the spiritual life.â
âAs I grew closer to Jesusâ, he said, âI became more inspired by John Paul II.â
âI started to realize tonight that, with his death, heâll have a whole new role in my meditationâ¦of fatherly encouragement in prayer.â
The archbishop added: âWe mourn, but Jesus assures us that âblessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comfortedââ¦The words of Jesus--âI am the resurrection and the lifeâ--these are what should comfort us.â
As cardinals from around the world begin arriving in Rome to face the challenge of electing a new pope, throngs of faithful have been filling St. Peterâs Square to mourn the 84-year old pontiff who held the Chair of Peter for some 26 years.