.- A member of John Paul II's office of Liturgical Celebrations recently reflected on the late Pontiff's death.
Msgr. Konrad Krajewski explained that Cardinal Stanislao Dziwisz, who was Pope Wojtylaâs personal secretary for 40 years, broke the silence at the time of the Popeâs death.
âWe were kneeling around John Paul IIâs bed. â¦ The soft light of the lamp illuminated the wall, but you could see him well. Later the archbishop rose. He turned the lights on the room and interrupted the silence of John Paul IIâs death,â Msgr. Krajewski said in an April 2 LâOsservatore Romano article.
John Paul II died on April 2, 2005.
âIn a moving but surprisingly firm voice, with his typical mountain accent, dragging out certain syllables, he began to sing: âWe praise you, God. We proclaim you, Lord.â It seemed like a voice from heaven. We all looked with wonder at Don Stanislao. And the light followed the hymn and the verses continued: âOh eternal Father, all the earth adores youâ¦â And gave assurance to each of us,â Msgr. Krajewski said.
âThus we found ourselves before a totally distinct reality, we thought. John Paul II has died. That means now he lives forever,â he said.
Despite their sadness, Msgr. Krajewski continued, they continued to sing. âWith each word our voices became stronger and more confident. The hymn proclaimed: âVictor over death, you have opened the Kingdom of Heaven to those who believe.â Thus, singing the Te Deum, we glorified God, who was visible and recognizable in the person of the Pope.â
âThis is also the experience of all who encountered him during his pontificate. Whoever came into contact with John Paul II encountered Jesus, whom the Pope showed with his entire being.â
âOne immediately noticed that he was a person overflowing with God.â
During the last years of his life, Msgr. Krajewski said, âby just looking at him you could see the presence of God.â
âIt was enough to make you go to confession, not only because of your sins, but for not being holy like him.â
On April 2, 2005, when he left the papal apartment at the apostolic palace, Msgr. Krajewski said he saw âa multitude of people walking silently in devotion. The world had closed down, got on its knees and cried.â
âThere were those who cried only because a beloved person was gone, and later they went back to their homes like they came. And there also those who united the tears on the outside with those on the inside and realized that they were not right before the Lord. Those were blessed tears: they were the beginning of the miracle of conversion,â Msgr. Krajewski said.
He noted that even today, many of those who work at St. Peterâs and at the various Vatican offices spend a moment of prayer before John Paul IIâs tomb. They touch the tombstone with a reverent kiss. âThis happens every day,â he said.
âIf I had to say what the most important thing is in the life of priest and in each of our lives, looking at him I would say: to not obscure God with ourselves, but rather, to show him and make ourselves a visible sign of his presence. Nobody has seen God, but John Paul II made him visible through his life,â Msgr. Krajewski said.