Loading
Rome celebrates first ever Feast of Bl. John Paul II
Image of Bl. John Paul II at the Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia
Image of Bl. John Paul II at the Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia
By Alan Holdren
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Blessed John Paul II was remembered with celebrations all over Rome on Oct. 22, his first feast day since his May 1 beatification.

Among other events in Rome, the day was celebrated with a pilgrimage from one papal basilica to another.

Cardinal Angelo Comastri, head priest of St. Peter's Basilica, started off the pilgrimage in St. Peter's Square in the early afternoon. It concluded four hours later with a prayer vigil at the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The Diocese of Rome’s vicar, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, then celebrated Mass.

John Paul II's personal secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisc of Krakow, Poland, celebrated Mass at St. Peter's earlier in the day with more than 200 other priests and several cardinals and bishops.

In his homily, the Polish cardinal said John Paul II can inspire the new evangelization.

“Committing ourselves to this work,” he said, “we fulfill in the best way the testament the blessed introduced to the Church in the third millennium of Christianity.”

Also on Saturday, Cardinal Comastri celebrated Mass at Rome’s Shrine of Divine Love. He blessed a new mosaic depicting Bl. John Paul II. The shrine, on the city's southern edge, was visited by the late Pope just months into his papacy.

Though John Paul II was elected a week prior to Oct. 22, the chosen feast day, the date marks the official beginning of his pontificate in 1978.

The blessed’s memory was also celebrated with multiple Masses, prayers and reflections at the Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia, a sanctuary dedicated to Divine Mercy. Bl. John Paul II established the church himself and it is now a major pilgrim destination, particularly for Poles, in Rome.

Ken Smith of Dover, Del., recounted his memories of the Pope’s election in a conversation with CNA on the steps of Santo Spirito.

“I remember when I heard the news,” he said.

He heard it on the radio and thought it “amazing” that a Pole would be Pope.

Not long after that, he saw Pope John Paul II for himself.

“We actually were at a Wednesday audience back in 1979,” Smith said.

“I remember him coming down that aisle and the sun came out. My sister had been here a little earlier and she had the same experience. The sun shone on him and he glowed. It was wonderful.”

This year, Smith had happened upon the church a day before the feast along with his wife, Lida. They were visiting Rome as a stop on a Mediterranean cruise.

The stop at Santo Spirito was a special moment for them. An enormous painting of Bl. John Paul II was placed behind the main altar for the feast day. There is also a side chapel dedicated to his memory, complete with a blood relic donated by Cardinal Dziwisc.

“It was a thrill for me because I have a Polish background and he means the world for me and our people,” said Lida.

Her most lasting memory of the Pope?

“His smile mostly, how he suffered and never complained. He's just a great role model.”

Meanwhile, the Polish priest in charge of promoting John Paul II's cause for sainthood, Father Slawomir Oder, told Vatican Radio that with the first feast day comes a special grace for all those who have prayed for his intercession to bear children.

“For many little Karols, Carolinas and John Pauls born after these prayers,” said Fr. Oder, “the liturgical memory will be the first name day celebrated in the company of their Holy Patron.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
21

Liturgical Calendar

October 21, 2014

Tuesday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 12:35-38

Gospel
Date
10/21/14
10/20/14
10/19/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Eph 2: 12-22
Gospel:: Lk 12: 35-38

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/21/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 12:35-38

Homily
Date
10/21/14
10/20/14
10/19/14