.- “These have been days of grace,” Vatican Radio director Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., said in his reflection on the John Paul II beatification events.
“For the believer, John Paul II had always been alive and present but it cannot be denied that the days of his Beatification have represented a powerful return for him amongst the people of God in prayer and celebration. So these have been days of grace. And for this reason we understand the meaning and importance of every beatification but in particular, of this one, in the life of the Catholic Church,” he wrote in his May 7 editorial.
The past week has seen an estimated two million pilgrims descend on Rome to witness the beatification of Pope John Paul II. Fr Lombardi said he noticed that among the crowds he could clearly witness the legacy of the late Pope.
“Among the innumerable people who had waited from the previous night, waiting to get to St. Peter’s Square, there were many young families, with children born in the last decade, children who certainly didn’t know Pope John Paul II, but who are heirs of the generation of ‘his’ young people.”
Fr Lombardi, who also heads the Vatican Press Office, concluded by encouraging people to continue to ask for the intercession of Bl. Pope John Paul II as the world moves into the 21st century.
“John Paul II knew he had the mission of taking the Church into the third millennium, and at the end of the Great Jubilee he said to us, he said to all of God’s people: ‘Duc in altum! Put out into the deep!’
“The Church goes into the deep sea of the third millennium but knows it can continue to count on the support of an effective Intercessor who invites us not to be afraid,” Fr. Lombardi wrote.
He noted that Pope Benedict XVI echoed his predecessor in his own prayer: “Continue, we implore you, to sustain from heaven the faith of God’s people. You often blessed us. Today we pray: Holy Father, bless us!”