.- On the day that would have been his 27th anniversary of being elected Pope, Benedict XVI honored the memory of his successor, John Paul II during yesterday’s Angelus prayer, recalling his influence to both Christians and non-Christians.
"On a day like today, 27 years ago," the Pope told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter‘s Square, "the Lord called Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, archbishop of Krakow, to succeed John Paul I, who died just over a month after being elected."
Benedict recalled that, "John Paul II, 'who came from a far country,' was recognized as a moral authority even by many non-Christians and non-believers, as was clear from the many moving expressions of affection on the occasion of his illness and of profound condolence after his death.”
“At his tomb in the Vatican Grottoes,” the Pope said, “the pilgrimage of the faithful continues uninterrupted, and this too constitutes an eloquent sign of how much the beloved John Paul II entered into people's hearts."
He continued, saying that, "We could define John Paul II as a Pope completely consecrated to Christ through Mary, as was clear from his motto, 'Totus tuus.'“
“He was elected in the heart of the month of the Rosary and the Rosary he often held in his hands became one of the symbols of his pontificate."
Speaking on the nature and beauty of the Rosary itself, the Holy Father explained that, "The Rosary does not run counter to meditation on the Word of God and to liturgical prayer, rather it represents their natural and ideal complement, especially as a form of preparation and thanksgiving for Eucharistic celebration.”
“Christ, encountered in the Gospel and the Sacrament, is also contemplated with Mary in the various monuments of His life, thanks to the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries."
"Contemplative and missionary”, the Pope said; “this was the beloved John Paul II. He achieved this thanks to his intimate bond with God, daily nourished by the Eucharist and by prolonged periods of prayer.”
"At the moment of the Angelus, which was so dear to him," the Holy Father concluded, "it is a pleasure and a duty to remember him on this anniversary, renewing our thanks to God for having given the Church and the world such a worthy successor of the Apostle Peter. May the Virgin help us treasure his precious heritage."