CNA Staff, May 18, 2020 / 12:46 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Pope Francis described St. John Paul II as “an extraordinary gift of God to the Church and to Poland” in a video message to young people in Kraków Monday.
In the message marking the 100th anniversary of the saint’s birth May 18, Francis recalled his visit to the Polish city for World Youth Day in 2016.
He said: “St. John Paul II was an extraordinary gift of God to the Church and to Poland, your homeland. His earthly pilgrimage, which began on May 18, 1920 in Wadowice and ended 15 years ago in Rome, was marked by a passion for life and a fascination for the mystery of God, the world and man.”
Pope Francis noted that John Paul II emphasized mercy throughout his 27-year pontificate, referring to his 1980 encyclical Dives in misericordia, and the canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska and the institution of Divine Mercy Sunday in the year 2000.
“In the light of God’s merciful love he grasped the specificity and beauty of the vocation of women and men, he understood the needs of children, young people and adults, considering also cultural and social conditioning,” he said, inviting youngsters to discover the saint’s life and teaching via the internet.