Starting at 8.30
p.m., pilgrims were invited to participate in a moment of prayer and
reflection held in St. Peter‘s Square. The event began with readings
from various texts written by the late Pope and interspersed with songs
sang by the choir of the diocese of Rome.
At 9 p.m., Pope
Benedict appeared at his study window to pray the Rosary with the
group. Afterwards, at 9:37 p.m., the exact moment of John Paul II's
death, he addressed the group below.
He said that
although a year has passed since his death, John Paul II "remains
present in our minds and hearts…He continues to communicate his love
for God and his love for man. He continues to infuse everyone,
especially the young, with enthusiasm for goodness and courage to
follow Jesus and His teachings."
addressed throngs of faithful gathered in the square--all bearing
lighted candles, he attempted to sum up the late Pope’s "life and
evangelical witness" in two words: "'faithfulness' and 'dedication.'
Complete faithfulness to God and unreserved dedication to his own
mission as pastor of the Universal Church.”
He said that
this "Faithfulness and dedication that appeared even more convincing
and moving in his final months, during which he incarnated the words he
wrote in his 1984 Apostolic Letter Salvifici doloris: 'Suffering is
present in the world in order to release love, in order to give birth
to works of love towards neighbor, in order to transform the whole of
human civilization into a civilization of love'."
highlighted how John Paul’s long illness "made everyone more attentive
to human pain, to all physical and spiritual pain; he gave suffering
dignity and value by bearing witness to the fact that man is not worthy
for his efficiency or his appearance, but for himself, because he is
created and loved by God."
that through his words and gestures, "John Paul II never tired of
showing the world that if man allows himself to be embraced by Christ
he does not devalue the richness of his humanity; if he adheres to
Christ with all his heart, he does not lose anything.”
“On the contrary,” he said, “the encounter with Christ renders our lives more passionate.”
that “Precisely because he drew ever closer to God in prayer,
contemplation, and love for Truth and Beauty, our beloved Pope was able
to accompany each one of us and to speak authoritatively even to people
who are distant from Christian faith."
anniversary of John Paul’s death, the Pope invited faithful "to accept
once more the spiritual heritage he left us,“ saying that “We are
encouraged, among other things, to live our lives in a tireless search
for the Truth, which alone can satisfy our hearts.”
He said that “We
are encouraged not to be afraid to follow Christ, to bring everyone the
announcement of the Gospel, ferment for a more fraternal and united
humanity. From heaven, may John Paul II help us to continue our
specifically addressed faithful in Poland, who were following the
events by satellite linkup. "The memory of John Paul II remains alive
within us," he said, "and the sense of his spiritual presence does not
diminish. For you, may the memory of the particular love he always
nourished for his countrymen be a light on the path towards Christ:
'Remain strong in the faith'."
television link, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow,
thanked Benedict XVI for his words, adding that John Paul II "is
smiling upon us from heaven."
and dedication” were the two recurring words used by Pope Benedict XVI
to recall his predecessor John Paul II who died one year ago Sunday.
Tens of thousands--many of them from the late Pope’s native
Poland--gathered in Rome over the weekend to recall the life of a man
already being hailed as “John Paul the Great.”