.- On Saturday morning, after celebrating a private Mass in the chapel of the archbishop's palace in Krakow, the Holy Father travelled by car to Wadowice, the home town of John Paul II.
The Pope visited the basilica of the Immaculate Conception, where Karol Wojtyla was baptized, and visited the house in which he was bornm now a museum.
Following a greeting from Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, the Pope delivered his address. "I wished to stop precisely here, in the place where his faith began and matured," he said referring to his predecessor, "to pray together with all of you that he may soon be elevated to the glory of the altars."
The Holy Father then recalled how John Paul II would often refer to the baptismal font of the church of Wadowice where, on June 20, 1920 he received the Sacrament of Christian initiation, and for which he had "special veneration." This, said Pope Benedict, is "the key to understanding the consistency of his faith, the radicalism of his Christian life and the desire for sanctity that he continuously manifested."
"His love for the Church was born in the parish of Wadowice. In it he experienced the sacramental life, evangelization and the formation of a mature faith. For this reason, as a priest, as a bishop and as Pope, he treated parish communities with such great care. â
The Holy Father then recalled the deep attachment of the inhabitants of Wadowice to the local image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and especially John Paull II which he expressed in the motto 'Totus tuus.' Until the last moments of his earthly pilgrimage he remained faithful to this dedication." The pontiff added.
"In the spirit of this devotion," the Pope concluded, "before this image I wish to give thanks to God for the pontificate of John Paul II and, like him, I ask that Our Lady watch over the Church which by the will of God has been entrusted to me to guide. I also ask all of you to pray for me just as you prayed for your great fellow countryman."
During his return journey to Krakow, the Pope visited the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Langiewniki. He paused in prayer before the tomb of St. Faustina Kowalska where Karol Wojtyla frequently came to pray when he was a worker and later as a clandestine seminarian in the 1940s. Benedict XVI also visited the basilica where he met with 800 sick people.