Peruvian bishop recalls 25th anniversary of John Paul II's visit

Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren of Piura recounted the Eucharistic love and call to holiness of Blessed Pope John Paul II on his second visit to Peru, 25 years ago.

John Paul II visited Peru for the second time May 14-16, 1988, three years after his first visit to the country.  

Archbishop Eguren was named master of ceremonies for the 1988 liturgical events. A 32 year-old priest at the time, he recalled that the visit by the Polish Pope "was a huge event."

"It is an event that all Peruvians should treasure in our hearts and thank God for, because a saint visited us and left us a message that is still very relevant and a task that is still pending for all Peruvians, which can be summarized in the words he spoke to us: Build a more just and reconciled Peru," Archbishop Eguren told CNA on May 16.

"I witnessed his profound filial devotion, his profound love for the Most Holy Virgin, when he placed a gold rosary in the hands of Our Lady of the Evangelization, the patroness of the Archdiocese of Lima," he recalled.

He also noted the Pontiff's "love for the Eucharist."

"I remember his profound sense of recollection during the celebration of the Mass, and I remember with great emotion the long time he spent kneeling down in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in the private chapel we prepared for him."

Archbishop Eguren noted that Pope John Paul II invited Peruvians to strive for holiness and perfection in the Christian life, which are essential for the New Evangelization.

"Something I remember about that visit was the Pope's longing to bring Christ to everyone, that passion he had to proclaim Christ, to make Christ present, the lead others to Christ," he said.

The archbishop added that he was profoundly impacted by the ability to be close to such a saintly man.

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