faithful from various countries--most from the late pope’s native
Poland--were on hand in St. Peter’s Square Monday afternoon for a Mass
marking the first anniversary of the pontiff’s death.
A number of
cardinals concelebrated with Pope Benedict, including Cardinal
Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general
for the diocese of Rome, and Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, former
secretary to John Paul II and now archbishop of Krakow, Poland.
homily, Pope Benedict recalled John Paul’s “many human and spiritual
gifts”, pointing out that when he died last year, "Passing through the
crucible of apostolic labors and of illness, he appeared ever more as a
'rock' in the faith."
"Those who had
the opportunity of frequenting him personally”, he went on, “were able
almost to touch that pure and solid faith which, if it impressed his
inner circle of collaborators, did not fail to spread its beneficial
influence, during his long pontificate, throughout the Church in a
crescendo that reached its peak in the final months and days of his
The Pope described John Paul’s faith as "committed, strong and authentic,” calling it “free from fear and compromise."
He pointed out
that it "touched the hearts of so many people, thanks also to his
numerous apostolic pilgrimages all over the world, and especially
thanks to that final 'journey' of his agony and death."
motto of his predecessor’s pontificate "Totus tuus," Benedict stressed
that the late Pope's life was "completely oriented towards Christ
he said, "our thoughts turn with emotion to the moment of the beloved
Pontiff's death, but at the same time it is as if our hearts are
compelled to look ahead. We hear, resounding in our hearts, his
repeated invitations to advance fearlessly down the road of
faithfulness to the Gospel in order to be heralds and witnesses of
Christ in the third millennium.”
the Pope said, “his incessant exhortations to cooperate generously in
creating a more just and united humanity, to be workers for peace and
builders of hope."
prayed: "May our gaze always remain fixed upon Christ, 'the same
yesterday and today and forever,' Who firmly guides His Church. ... May
the strength of Jesus' Spirit be for everyone, as it was for Pope John
Paul II, a source of peace and joy."
Pope Benedict XVI gathered with thousands of faithful from around the
world in remembering the late John Paul II--a man whom he called a
“rock” in the faith. He passed from this life to the next one year ago