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Volume 5, Issue 62

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  • John N. Lupia
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 7, 2005
      Roman Catholic News

      Volume 5, Issue 62

      FRIDAY 8 APRIL 2005

      Easter Friday

      * * *


      * * *

      . Funeral Mass to Aim for a Note of Hope
      . 2 Preachers Chosen to Exhort Conclave
      . Cardinal Pell on John Paul II
      . Bishop of Birmingham, Alabama, Steps Down

      * * *


      VATICAN CITY, APR 8, 2005 (VIS) - Before the start of the funeral Mass today for John Paul II in St. Peter's Square in the presence of an estimated 300,000 people, including over 200 heads of State and government, the deceased Pope's body was placed in a cypress casket and closed in the presence of a number of witnesses.

      Among those present for this rite were Cardinals Martinez Somalo, camerlengo of Holy Roman Church, Angelo Sodano, former secretary of state, Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, Camillo Ruini, vicar for the diocese of Rome, Francesco Marchisano, archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, and Archbishops Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Holy Father's personal secretary and James Harvey, prefect of the Papal Household.

      The cardinal camerlengo introduced the rite of the closing of the casket. Archbishop Piero Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, then read the "Rogito," a summary of the life of the Pope, copies of which were signed by those present. An antiphon and psalm were sung, followed by silent prayer. The master of ceremonies than placed a veil of white silk over the head of the deceased and the cardinal camerlengo sprinkled the body with holy water. The master of ceremonies then placed a bag with some medals coined during the pontificate of the deceased and a lead tube containing the original copy of the Rogito in the casket.

      As the casket was closed, Psalm 41 was recited.

      The casket of John Paul II was brought to St. Peter's Square in procession, placed on a carpet on the ground in front of the main alter and a book of Gospels was placed on top of the casket and opened. The procession included the College of Cardinals and the patriarchs of the Oriental Churches, all in red vestments, who kissed the altar before taking their places. Mass was presided over by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and concelebrated by 164 cardinals.

      Millions of people who had come to Rome for John Paul's funeral but who could not be accommodated in St. Peter's Square itself, watched the ceremony on 27 giant screens placed throughout the city, including at the two football stadiums, Tor Vergata University, the Circus Maximus, the basilicas of St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major and St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, Piazza del Popolo, Piazza Risorgimento near the Vatican, the Colosseum and Via della Conciliazione, the broad avenue leading to St. Peter's Square.

      Many of those in St. Peter's Square, at various times during the Mass, called out for John Paul II to be proclaimed a saint. These calls, accompanied by sustained applause, began as Cardinal Ratzinger finished his homily A number of banners could be seen with the words "Santo Subito" (a saint immediately) and "John Paul II the Great" and one, with his papal crest, saying "Pope John Paul II - saint."

      Following the prayer after communion Cardinal Ratzinger proceeded to the rite of the final recommendation and act of committal, standing by the casket of John Paul II. Cardinal Ruini then stood next to the casket, the cantors sang the Litany of Saints and the cardinal vicar then concluded the supplication of the Church of Rome with a prayer and returned to his seat.

      At this point the patriarchs and archbishops major and metropolitans of the Catholic Oriental metropolitan Churches "sui iuris", went to the casket and, facing the altar, recited the supplication of the Oriental Churches from the Office of the Dead of the Byzantine liturgy. Everyone present prayed in silence and Cardinal Ratzinger sprinkled holy water on the remains while the choir sang a response.

      The casket of John Paul II was then brought into the Vatican Basilica to the place of burial as the faithful sang the Magnificat. Those present earlier at the closing of the casket accompanied it into the basilica. John Paul II was brought to the grotto area of St. Peter's Basilica for burial in a rite presided over by the cardinal camerlengo.

      The cypress casket with the mortal remains of John Paul II was tied with red ribbons on which were placed the seals of the Apostolic Camera, the Prefecture of the Papal Household, the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff and the Vatican Chapter. The cypress casket was then placed in the zinc and wood caskets which were soldered shut and covered with the seals of the aforementioned offices. On the top are the cross and coat-of-arms of John Paul II.

      The notary of the Basilica Chapter verified the act of burial and read it to those present.

      Attending today's funeral Mass for the Holy Father were reigning monarchs of 10 countries, 57 heads of State, 3 hereditary princes, 17 heads of government, the heads of 3 international organizations and representatives from 10 others, 3 spouses of heads of State, 8 vice heads of State, 6 vice prime ministers, 4 presidents of parliaments, 12 foreign ministers, 13 ministers, and ambassadors from 24 countries.

      Religious delegations, numbering 140 people, included representatives from the Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Churches, Churches and ecclesial communions of the West, international Christian organizations, the National Association of Evangelicals, representatives of Judaism, Islam and delegations from non-Christian religions.

      * * *


      VATICAN CITY, APR 8, 2005 (VIS) - Below is the English translation of the homily, delivered in Italian by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, at the funeral Mass for the Holy Father John Paul II, held in St Peter's Square this morning:

      "'Follow me.' The Risen Lord says these words to Peter. They are his last words to this disciple, chosen to shepherd his flock. 'Follow me' - this lapidary saying of Christ can be taken as the key to understanding the message which comes to us from the life of our late beloved Pope John Paul II. Today we bury his remains in the earth as a seed of immortality - our hearts are full of sadness, yet at the same time of joyful hope and profound gratitude.

      "These are the sentiments that inspire us, Brothers and Sisters in Christ, present here in Saint Peter's Square, in neighboring streets and in various other locations within the city of Rome, where an immense crowd, silently praying, has gathered over the last few days. I greet all of you from my heart. In the name of the College of Cardinals, I also wish to express my respects to Heads of State, Heads of Government and the delegations from various countries. I greet the Authorities and official representatives of other Churches and Christian Communities, and likewise those of different religions. Next I greet the Archbishops, Bishops, priests, religious men and women and the faithful who have come here from every Continent; especially the young, whom John Paul II liked to call the future and the hope of the Church. My greeting is extended, moreover, to all those throughout the world who are united with us through radio and television in this solemn celebration of our beloved Holy Father's funeral.

      "Follow me! As a young student Karol Wojtyla was thrilled by literature, the theatre, and poetry. Working in a chemical plant, surrounded and threatened by the Nazi terror, he heard the voice of the Lord: Follow me! In this extraordinary setting he began to read books of philosophy and theology, and then entered the clandestine seminary established by Cardinal Sapieha. After the war he was able to complete his studies in the faculty of theology of the Jagiellonian University of Krakow. How often, in his letters to priests and in his autobiographical books has he spoken to us about his priesthood, to which he was ordained on 1 November 1946. In these texts he interprets his priesthood with particular reference to three sayings of the Lord. First: 'You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last' (Jn 15:16). The second saying is: 'The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep' (Jn 10:11). And then: 'As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love' (Jn 15:9). In these three sayings we see the heart and soul of our Holy Father. He really went everywhere, untiringly, in order to bear fruit, fruit that lasts. 'Rise, Let us be on our Way!' is the title of his next-to-last book. 'Rise, let us be on our way!' - with these words he roused us from a lethargic faith, from the sleep of the disciples of both yesterday and today. 'Rise, let us be on our way!' he continues to say to us even today. The Holy Father was a priest to the last, for he offered his life to God for his flock and for the entire human family, in a daily self-oblation for the service of the Church, especially amid the sufferings of his final months. And in this way he became one with Christ, the Good Shepherd who loves his sheep. Finally, 'abide in my love:' the Pope who tried to meet everyone, who had an ability to forgive and to open his heart to all, tells us once again today, with these words of the Lord, that by abiding in the love of Christ we learn, at the school of Christ, the art of true love.

      "Follow me! In July 1958 the young priest Karol Wojtyla began a new stage in his journey with the Lord and in the footsteps of the Lord. Karol had gone to the Masuri lakes for his usual vacation, along with a group of young people who loved canoeing. But he brought with him a letter inviting him to call on the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Wyszynski. He could guess the purpose of the meeting: he was to be appointed as the auxiliary Bishop of Krakow. Leaving the academic world, leaving this challenging engagement with young people, leaving the great intellectual endeavor of striving to understand and interpret the mystery of that creature which is man and of communicating to today's world the Christian interpretation of our being - all this must have seemed to him like losing his very self, losing what had become the very human identity of this young priest. Follow me - Karol Wojtyla accepted the appointment, for he heard in the Church's call the voice of Christ. And then he realized how true are the Lord's words: 'Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it' (Lk 17:33). Our Pope - and we all know this - never wanted to make his own life secure, to keep it for himself; he wanted to give of himself unreservedly, to the very last moment, for Christ and thus also for us. And thus he came to experience how everything which he had given over into the Lord's hands came back to him in a new way. His love of words, of poetry, of literature, became an essential part of his pastoral mission and gave new vitality, new urgency, new attractiveness to the preaching of the Gospel, even when it is a sign of contradiction.

      "Follow me! In October 1978 Cardinal Wojtyla once again heard the voice of the Lord. Once more there took place that dialogue with Peter reported in the Gospel of this Mass: 'Simon, son of John, do you love me? Feed my sheep!' To the Lord's question, 'Karol, do you love me?,' the Archbishop of Krakow answered from the depths of his heart: 'Lord you know everything; you know that I love you.' The love of Christ was the dominant force in the life of our beloved Holy Father. Anyone who ever saw him pray, who ever heard him preach, knows that. Thanks to his being profoundly rooted in Christ, he was able to bear a burden which transcends merely human abilities: that of being the shepherd of Christ's flock, his universal Church. This is not the time to speak of the specific content of this rich pontificate. I would like only to read two passages of today's liturgy which reflect central elements of his message. In the first reading, Saint Peter says - and with Saint Peter, the Pope himself - 'I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ - he is Lord of all' (Acts 10:34-36). And in the second reading, Saint Paul - and with Saint Paul, our late Pope - exhorts us, crying out: 'My brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved' (Phil 4:1).

      "Follow me! Together with the command to feed his flock, Christ proclaimed to Peter that he would die a martyr's death. With those words, which conclude and sum up the dialogue on love and on the mandate of the universal shepherd, the Lord recalls another dialogue, which took place during the Last Supper. There Jesus had said: 'Where I am going, you cannot come.' Peter said to him, 'Lord, where are you going?' Jesus replied: 'Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow me afterward.' (Jn 13:33,36). Jesus from the Supper went towards the Cross, went towards his resurrection - he entered into the paschal mystery; and Peter could not yet follow him. Now - after the resurrection - comes the time, comes this 'afterward.' By shepherding the flock of Christ, Peter enters into the paschal mystery, he goes towards the cross and the resurrection. The Lord says this in these words: '... when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go' (Jn 21:18). In the first years of his pontificate, still young and full of energy, the Holy Father went to the very ends of the earth, guided by Christ. But afterwards, he increasingly entered into the communion of Christ's sufferings; increasingly he understood the truth of the words: 'Someone else will fasten a belt around you.' And in this very communion with the suffering Lord, tirelessly and with renewed intensity, he proclaimed the Gospel, the mystery of that love which goes to the end (cf. Jn 13:1).

      "He interpreted for us the paschal mystery as a mystery of divine mercy. In his last book, he wrote: The limit imposed upon evil 'is ultimately Divine Mercy' (Memory and Identity, pp. 60-61). And reflecting on the assassination attempt, he said: 'In sacrificing himself for us all, Christ gave a new meaning to suffering, opening up a new dimension, a new order: the order of love ... It is this suffering which burns and consumes evil with the flame of love and draws forth even from sin a great flowering of good' (pp. 189-190). Impelled by this vision, the Pope suffered and loved in communion with Christ, and that is why the message of his suffering and his silence proved so eloquent and so fruitful.

      "Divine Mercy: the Holy Father found the purest reflection of God's mercy in the Mother of God. He, who at an early age had lost his own mother, loved his divine mother all the more. He heard the words of the crucified Lord as addressed personally to him: 'Behold your Mother.' And so he did as the beloved disciple did: he took her into his own home (eis ta idia: Jn 19:27) - 'Totus tuus.' And from the mother he learned to conform himself to Christ.

      "None of us can ever forget how in that last Easter Sunday of his life, the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time gave his blessing 'urbi et orbi.' We can be sure that our beloved Pope is standing today at the window of the Father's house, that he sees us and blesses us. Yes, bless us, Holy Father. We entrust your dear soul to the Mother of God, your Mother, who guided you each day and who will guide you now to the eternal glory of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."

      * * *

      Funeral Mass to Aim for a Note of Hope
      Rites to Have a Focus on Resurrection

      VATICAN CITY, APRIL 7, 2005 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II's funeral Mass on Friday will have the character of resurrection, in keeping with the revised rite he entrusted to the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.

      A fruit of this revision was the "Ordo Romani Pontificis," including the funeral rites for the Roman Pontiff, which must be followed faithfully, as established in the apostolic constitution "Universi Dominici Gregis."

      Approved by the Holy Father, the ritual underlines "the paschal character of the death of the disciple of Christ," Archbishop Piero Marini, master of pontifical liturgical celebrations, clarifies in the volume.

      The Ordo's general premises explain: "In the funeral rites the Church manifests her faith in the victory of the risen Christ over sin and death."

      "This faith is expressed in a particular way in the obsequies of the Roman Pontiff, who because of the ministry he exercises in the Church, has confirmed all pastors and faithful in the faith," the text states.

      The Church "raises to the Father, Lord of life and death, an intense prayer of thanksgiving, for the good that the deceased Pontiff realized in favor of the Church and humanity, for the repose of his soul, and of supplication, so that he will be received by the Lord in his dwelling of light and peace together with all the saints," explains the Ordo.

      The ritual also includes prayers for the Church that, "deprived of the Roman Pontiff," she will abandon herself confidently "to Christ, Supreme Pastor, who promises to her his everlasting presence and assistance."

      "Due honor" is rendered "to the body of the deceased Supreme Pontiff" who, "with the sacraments of Christian initiation, became a temple of the Holy Spirit, and with the sacrament of Episcopal Ordination was totally dedicated to the service of the People of God," especially because of "faith in eternal life and in the resurrection of the flesh," note the premises of the ritual.

      * * *

      2 Preachers Chosen to Exhort Conclave
      Cardinal Spidlik and Father Cantalamessa to Give Meditations

      VATICAN CITY, APRIL 7, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The general congregation of cardinals chose the two preachers who will present key meditations to exhort the conclave: Cardinal Tomas Spidlik and Father Raniero Cantalamessa.

      In the 1996 apostolic constitution "Universi Dominici Gregis," which establishes the norms for the vacant See, John Paul II said of the cardinals: "They shall entrust to two ecclesiastics known for their sound doctrine, wisdom and moral authority the task of presenting to the Cardinals two well-prepared meditations on the problems facing the Church at the time and on the need for careful discernment in choosing the new Pope."

      "Father Raniero Cantalamessa will give his intervention on Thursday, April 14, during the general congregation of the morning," a Holy See press statement announced today. "Cardinal Tomas Spidlik, S.J., will address the cardinals in the Sistine Chapel on Monday, April 18."

      Cardinal Spidlik, who is 85, is too old to participate in the conclave.

      Father Cantalamessa, 70, is a Franciscan Capuchin. He previously was a professor of history of ancient Christianity and director of the department of religious sciences at the Catholic University of Milan. He was a member of the International Theological Commission from 1975 to 1981.

      In 1980 he was appointed by Pope John Paul II as preacher to the Pontifical Household.

      Tomas Spidlik was born in Boskovice, Czech Republic. He was ordained a priest in August 1949 and made his final profession as a Jesuit in February 1958.

      In 1938 he began his studies of philosophy, but because of the Nazi occupation, he was forced to abandon those studies and to work. Again between 1942 and 1945 he continued his studies, but with interruptions due to forced labor. Later he became prefect of the secondary school of Velehrad, where he taught the Czech and Russian languages.

      Since 1951 he has been a collaborator with Vatican Radio. He was a lecturer at the Pontifical Oriental Institute and taught courses at the Gregorian University. He is known for his preaching of spiritual retreats, and in 1995 he led the retreat for the Pope and the Roman Curia.

      Cardinal Spidlik has served as a consultor of the Vatican congregations for Sainthood Causes and for the Eastern Churches.

      * * *

      Cardinal Pell on John Paul II
      "He's Moved on a Stage That's Absolutely Gigantic"

      ROME, APRIL 7, 2005 (Zenit.org).- On the eve of John Paul II's funeral, Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia, shared with ZENIT his views about the life of the Pope.

      Q: What was your first reaction upon hearing the news of Pope John Paul II's death?

      Cardinal Pell: My reactions were mixed. I was with a group of Neocatechumenal leaders, seminary rectors in the Holy Land, at the beautiful Domus Galilee up in the Mountain of the Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee.

      We were saddened by the loss of this extraordinary leader, [yet] we were relieved that his suffering was over and aware that we were Christian people who believed in life after death. But there was certainly sadness and an awareness of a great loss.

      Q: Within Australia -- which is "in between the U.S. and Britain" when it comes to religiosity and practice of the faith -- what did Pope John Paul II mean for the people of Australia and for Catholics there?

      Cardinal Pell: Well, that's two questions right there: Just as I was driving back to where I am staying in Trastevere, on one of the main roads, there are big posters up with the Pope's photo of him already at an old age with the simple heading saying, "Un Bravo Uomo" -- a great man -- and I think for the overwhelming majority of Australians they would have said that -- a good man and a great Catholic.

      Those that followed current affairs would be aware of his views on many matters and aware of his pivotal role in the overthrow of communism.

      Now for the Catholics, regular practicing ones in the mainstream of the Church, I think Peggy Noonan, who writes a column for the Wall Street Journal and was a speechwriter for President Reagan, summed it up very well in an article about two or three years ago when she said that Pope John Paul II made her, and many, many Catholics feel secure that the Church was in good hands -- that they were safe. Not from external threat or misadventure or scandals or crises, but as far as the leadership could deal with these things, the Pope had a very safe pair of hands.

      This is exactly the way I felt -- from the first time I heard him in his inaugural sermon.

      Q: Now, turning to the Holy Father's last moments, you said you felt sad he'd died but relieved his suffering has ended. His last few years and months especially were imbued with suffering. Now, there were a lot of young people keeping vigil in St. Peter's Square up until and on the night he died, saying that this was the last lesson he was giving to them -- how to suffer. What did suffering mean in the thought of Pope John Paul?

      Cardinal Pell: Somebody said to me recently that his years of suffering were probably his best sermon. One of the radical differences between Christians and the secular attitude toward suffering is that those without a belief in God tend to flee from suffering and pretend it doesn't exist.

      We as Catholics confront suffering and try to help those suffering, but we also believe that through the suffering and death, primarily of Christ, we were redeemed and saved. In other words, good can come out of suffering.

      I think one of the very first encyclicals of the late Holy Father was "Redemptor Hominis," on the mystery of suffering and the role of Christ as our Redeemer.

      All isn't well in the world. We have to recognize suffering when we have to confront it. And that beautiful teaching of Jesus' -- that whatever we do for the least of our brothers and sisters to help them in their suffering, we do to Christ himself -- is spectacular.

      Q: You mentioned also Pope John Paul II's role in the downfall of communism and in many ways, the Berlin Wall fell in the halfway point of his pontificate. What are some of the major issues he was confronting in the second half of his pontificate, which perhaps the press haven't been paying a lot of attention to?

      Cardinal Pell: I think the great moral encyclicals like "The Gospel of Life" and "The Splendor of Truth"' ... I mean, if he'd written nothing else during his pontificate, he would have been regarded as an extraordinary teacher because he pointed out that not just particular doctrines but the very basis of morality are being challenged in our society.

      In a postmodern world the basic claim is that there are no moral bases and the most we might be able to achieve would be a temporary consensus.

      Now, the Pope had been a longtime a critic of social injustice, but two other things, especially from a Western point of view that we must realize, is that:

      One, I think he was the first Pope to deal adequately with the advantages that capitalism had brought us. Capitalism makes it very difficult for family life, for marriage, but has brought a spread of prosperity and not just in the West but also to many parts of China, for example, which is absolutely unprecedented. And the Pope, in his later encyclicals, recognized this.

      Two, [he] explicitly recognized the importance of democracy. He did warn that democratic majorities can be totalitarian if they don't recognize human rights. But he endorsed democracy as a highly desirable form of government more explicitly than any other Pope in the past. I think he did well to do that.

      Q: A final question with regard to Friday's funeral and the list of dignitaries attending. A lot of these countries do not follow the exact teachings of this Pope; many of them are lacking on things that the Pope taught, i.e., abortion, human rights etc. Why do you think that his funeral is drawing this kind of international response?

      Cardinal Pell: For a start, because I think he was one of the most -- probably the most extraordinary Pope in Christian history in 2,000 years. Now that's a large claim and it's something that I don't make lightly. Because of the modern means of communication and travel, he's moved on a stage that's absolutely gigantic.

      We speak of Leo the Great in the middle of the fifth century and Gregory the Great at the end of the sixth, but the canvas within which they moved -- the Italian peninsula; across the Alps; across to North Africa and Greece to some extent -- was a world that was much more confined in comparison to today.

      And of course, political leaders, as distinct from a number of secular commentators, realize that his role in the overthrow of communism, bringing freedom to the peoples of Eastern Europe and Russia, was absolutely pivotal. It was his visit to Poland in 1979 that really awoke the Polish people and when Poland started to move, the whole pack of cards came down.

      Some of the communist leadership recognized what was happening, and especially as the trip went on, they tried to stop people attending the Masses.

      One English bishop said that he was staying in a hotel in a village about 20 kilometers from Krakow and was woken up in the early hours of the morning by the sounds of tramping. They had stopped the buses miles away and the tens of thousands of Poles were walking through the night.

      He [the Pope] told them that they were living a lie. And through a most unusual conjunction of forces, you had a man like Reagan running the States. You had some assistance, too, from Thatcher in the UK.

      To have a Pope and an American president prepared to try to knock the communist regime down -- and it was tottering -- that was fantastically unusual.

      Then we had, providentially, a man like Gorbachev who refused to use violence to stay in power.

      The disillusion of the Soviet empire without violence was a miracle and I think it was the president of Poland who said just recently, "We wouldn't be free today without this Pope."

      So, basically, I don't think it's surprising that they're talking about a million and a half Poles coming for the funeral.

      It's for all these sorts of reasons that so many heads of state are coming. It will be one of the most extraordinary funerals in history.

      * * *


      VATICAN CITY, APR 7, 2005 (VIS) - Following is the text of the spiritual testament of John Paul II, which was released today in an Italian translation of the original Polish. The translation from Italian into English has been done by VIS:

      The testament of 6.3.1979

      (and successive additions)

      "Totus Tuus ego sum"

      In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity. Amen.

      "Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming" (cf. Mt 24, 42) - these words remind me of the last call, which will happen at the moment the Lord wishes. I desire to follow Him, and I desire that everything making up part of my earthly life should prepare me for this moment. I do not know when the moment will come, but like everything else, I place it too in the hands of the Mother of my Master: Totus Tuus. In the same maternal Hands I leave everything and everyone with whom my life and vocation have linked me. In these Hands I leave, above all, the Church, as well as my Nation and all humanity. I thank everyone. Of everyone I ask forgiveness. I also ask for prayer, that the Mercy of God may appear greater than my weakness and unworthiness.

      During the spiritual exercises I re-read the testament of the Holy Father Paul VI. That reading prompted me to write this testament.

      I leave no property behind me of which it is necessary to dispose. As for the everyday objects that were of use to me, I ask they be distributed as seems appropriate. My personal notes are to be burned. I ask that this be attended to by Fr. Stanislaw, whom I thank for his collaboration and help, so prolonged over the years and so understanding. As for all other thanks, I leave them in my heart before God Himself, because it is difficult to express them.

      As for the funeral, I repeat the same dispositions as were given by the Holy Father Paul VI. (Here is a note in the margin: burial in the bare earth, not in a sarcophagus, 13.3.92).

      "apud Dominum misericordia
      et copiosa apud Eum redemptio"

      John Paul pp. II

      Rome, 6.III.1979
      After my death I ask for Masses and prayers.

      Undated sheet of paper

      I express my profound trust that, despite all my weakness, the Lord will grant me all the grace necessary to face according to His will any task, trial or suffering that He will ask of His servant, in the course of his life. I also trust that He will never allow me - through some attitude of mine: words, deeds or omissions - to betray my obligations in this holy Petrine See.

      24.II - 1.III.1980

      Also during these spiritual exercises, I have reflected on the truth of the Priesthood of Christ in the perspective of that Transit that for each of us is the moment of our own death. For us the Resurrection of Christ is an eloquent (added above: decisive) sign of departing from this world - to be born in the next, in the future world.

      I have read, then, the copy of my testament from last year, also written during the spiritual exercises - I compared it with the testament of my great predecessor and Father, Paul VI, with that sublime witness to death of a Christian and a Pope - and I have renewed within me an awareness of the questions to which the copy of 6.III.1979 refers, prepared by me (in a somewhat provisional way).

      Today I wish to add only this: that each of us must bear in mind the prospect of death. And must be ready to present himself before the Lord and Judge - Who is at the same time Redeemer and Father. I too continually take this into consideration, entrusting that decisive moment to the Mother of Christ and of the Church - to the Mother of my hope.

      The times in which we live are unutterably difficult and disturbed. The path of the Church has also become difficult and tense, a characteristic trial of these times - both for the Faithful and for Pastors. In some Countries (as, for example, in those about which I read during the spiritual exercises), the Church is undergoing a period of such persecution as to be in no way lesser than that of early centuries, indeed it surpasses them in its degree of cruelty and hatred. "Sanguis martyrum - semen christianorum.". And apart from this - many people die innocently even in this Country in which we are living.

      Once again, I wish to entrust myself totally to the Lord's grace. He Himself will decide when and how I must end my earthly life and pastoral ministry. In life and in death, Totus Tuus in Mary Immaculate. Accepting that death, even now, I hope that Christ will give me the grace for the final passage, in other words (my) Easter. I also hope that He makes (that death) useful for this more important cause that I seek to serve: the salvation of men and women, the safeguarding of the human family and, in that, of all nations and all peoples (among them, I particularly address my earthly Homeland), and useful for the people with whom He particularly entrusted me, for the question of the Church, for the glory of God Himself.

      I do not wish to add anything to what I wrote a year ago - only to express this readiness and, at the same time, this trust, to which the current spiritual exercises have again disposed me.

      John Paul II

      Totus Tuus ego sum


      In the course of this year's spiritual exercises I have read (a number of times) the text of the testament of 6.III.1979. Although I still consider it provisional (not definitive), I leave it in the form in which it exists. I change nothing (for now), and neither do I add anything, as concerns the dispositions contained therein.

      The attempt upon my life on 13.V.1981 in some way confirmed the accuracy of the words written during the period of the spiritual exercises of 1980 (24.II - 1.III).

      All the more deeply I now feel that I am totally in the Hands of God - and I remain continually at the disposal of my Lord, entrusting myself to Him in His Immaculate Mother (Totus Tuus)

      John Paul pp.II


      In connection with the last sentence in my testament of 6.III.1979 ("concerning the site / that is, the site of the funeral / let the College of Cardinals and Compatriots decide") - I will make it clear that I have in mind: the metropolitan of Krakow or the General Council of the Episcopate of Poland - In the meantime I ask the College of Cardinals to satisfy, as far as possible, any demands of the above-mentioned.

      1.III.1985 (during the spiritual exercises)
      Again - as regards the _expression "College of Cardinals and Compatriots": the "College of Cardinals" has no obligation to consult "Compatriots" on this subject, however it can do so, if for some reason it feels it is right to do so.


      Spiritual exercise of the Jubilee Year 2000 (12-18.III)
      (for my testament)

      1. When, on October 16, 1978 the conclave of cardinals chose John Paul II, the primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski told me: "The duty of the new Pope will be to introduce the Church into the Third Millennium." I don't know if I am repeating this sentence exactly, but at least this was the sense of what I heard at the time. This was said by the Man who entered history as the primate of the Millennium. A great primate. I was a witness to his mission, to his total entrustment. To his battles. To his victory. "Victory, when it comes, will be a victory through Mary" - The primate of the Millennium used to repeat these words of his predecessor, Cardinal August Hlond.

      In this way I was prepared in some manner for the duty that presented itself to me on October 16, 1978. As I write these words, the Jubilee Year 2000 is already a reality. The night of December 24, 1999 the symbolic Door of the Great Jubilee in the Basilica of St. Peter's was opened, then that of St. John Lateran, then St. Mary Major - on New Year's, and on January 19 the Door of the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls. This last event, given its ecumenical character, has remained impressed in my memory in a special way.

      2. As the Jubilee Year progressed, day by day the 20th century closes behind us and the 21st century opens. According to the plans of Divine Providence I was allowed to live in the difficult century that is retreating into the past, and now, in the year in which my life reaches 80 years ('octogesima adveniens'), it is time to ask oneself if it is not the time to repeat with the biblical Simeone 'nunc dimittis'.

      On May 13, 1981, the day of the attack on the Pope during the general audience in St. Peter's Square, Divine Providence saved me in a miraculous way from death. The One Who is the Only Lord of life and death Himself prolonged my life, in a certain way He gave it to me again. From that moment it belonged to Him even more. I hope He will help me to recognize up to what point I must continue this service to which I was called on October 16, 1978. I ask him to call me back when He Himself wishes. 'In life and in death we belong to the Lord ... we are the Lord's. (cf. Rm 14,8). I also hope that, as long as I am called to fulfil the Petrine service in the Church, the Mercy of God will give me the necessary strength for this service.

      3. As I do every year during spiritual exercises I read my testament from 6-III-1979. I continue to maintain the dispositions contained in this text. What then, and even during successive spiritual exercises, has been added constitutes a reflection of the difficult and tense general situation which marked the Eighties. From autumn of the year 1989 this situation changed. The last decade of the century was free of the previous tensions; that does not mean that it did not bring with it new problems and difficulties. In a special way may Divine Providence be praised for this, that the period of the so-called 'cold war' ended without violent nuclear conflict, the danger of which weighed on the world in the preceding period.

      4. Being on the threshold of the third millennium "in medio Ecclesiae" I wish once again to express gratitude to the Holy Spirit for the great gift of Vatican Council II, to which, together with the entire Church - and above all the entire episcopacy - I feel indebted. I am convinced that for a long time to come the new generations will draw upon the riches that this Council of the 20th century gave us. As a bishop who participated in this conciliar event from the first to the last day, I wish to entrust this great patrimony to all those who are and who will be called in the future to realize it. For my part I thank the eternal Pastor Who allowed me to serve this very great cause during the course of all the years of my pontificate.

      "In medio Ecclesiae".... from the first years of my service as a bishop - precisely thanks to the Council - I was able to experience the fraternal communion of the Episcopacy. As a priest of the archdiocese of Krakow I experienced the fraternal communion among priests - and the Council opened a new dimension to this experience.

      5. How many people should I list! Probably the Lord God has called to Himself the majority of them - as to those who are still on this side, may the words of this testament recall them, everyone and everywhere, wherever they are.

      During the more than 20 years that I am fulfilling the Petrine service "in medio Ecclesiae" I have experienced the benevolence and even more the fecund collaboration of so many cardinals, archbishops and bishops, so many priests, so many consecrated persons - brothers and sisters - and, lastly, so very, very many lay persons, within the Curia, in the vicariate of the diocese of Rome, as well as outside these milieux.

      How can I not embrace with grateful memory all the bishops of the world whom I have met in "ad limina Apostolorum" visits! How can I not recall so many non-Catholic Christian brothers! And the rabbi of Rome and so many representatives of non -Christian religions! And how many representatives of the world of culture, science, politics, and of the means of social communication!

      6. As the end of my life approaches I return with my memory to the beginning, to my parents, to my brother, to the sister (I never knew because she died before my birth), to the parish in Wadowice, where I was baptized, to that city I love, to my peers, friends from elementary school, high school and the university, up to the time of the occupation when I was a worker, and then in the parish of Niegowic, then St. Florian's in Krakow, to the pastoral ministry of academics, to the milieu of....to all milieux....to Krakow and to Rome....to the people who were entrusted to me in a special way by the Lord.

      To all I want to say just one thing: "May God reward you."

      "In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum."

      * * *

      Bishop of Birmingham, Alabama, Steps Down

      BIRMINGHAM, Alabama, APRIL 7, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The resignation of Bishop David Foley of Birmingham, Alabama, was accepted last week, prior to the death of Pope John Paul II.

      Bishop Foley submitted his resignation in February upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75.

      Word that his resignation had been accepted came in a March 30 communication from Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, apostolic nuncio to the United States. An announcement was scheduled for today, Thursday, April 7.

      David Foley, who was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, was appointed bishop of Birmingham in March 1994.

      * * *


      There is no lectio divina today in commemoration of the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

      * * *


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      3. Today's Lectionary Readings Text
      <http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/040805.htm> (English)

      <http://www.alingilalyawmi.org> (Arabic)

      Biblica Online

      * * *




      Monks of Adoration:

      * * *

      5. Polish Rosary Hour by the Conventual Franciscans

      * * *



      Our Father Movie

      * * *


      * * *


      Color Photograph of Mama Gili, Biography and Prayers

      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 1)

      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 2)

      Need a Miracle?

      Dolores Immacolata "Mama" Gili (1892-1985)


      The Mama Gili Guild was established several years ago to gather,
      collect, and publish information on Dolores Immacolata Gili (1892-
      1985) for an investigation into her cause as a Servant of God, as
      well as to promote her cause and toperpetuate her cult by directing
      prayer groups assembled in her honor. It has continuously enjoyed the
      ecclesiastical approval of Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, and the Most
      Reverend John Joseph Myers, Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey.

      Call or write today regarding favors granted through the intercession
      of Dolores Immacolata "Mama" Gili, or, for more information about the
      cause of her investigation for canonization to:

      Rev. Dante DiGirolamo, Director
      Mama Gili Guild
      P. O. Box 455
      Kearny, New Jersey 07032
      Phone (973) 412-1170
      Fax (973) 412-7011

      * * *


      The Benedictine monks of Abbaye Saint-Joseph de Clairval mail a free
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      Sample Newsletter

      language==EN >

      Abbey of Saint-Joseph de Clairval


      Phone.: 03 80 96 22 31
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      10. Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ. English Trans. Online

      Thomas a Kempis, De Imitatione Christi. Latin Text Online

      * * *


      When the Eucharistic host is elevated at Mass say:

      "Eternal Father, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary,
      I offer you the crucified Body of Your dearly beloved Son, Jesus
      Christ, in reparation for all the sins committed against you and for
      the conversion and salvation of the whole world."

      When the Eucharistic chalice is elevated at Mass say:

      "Eternal Father, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary,
      I offer you the precious Blood of Your dearly beloved Son, Jesus
      Christ, in reparation for all the sins committed against you and for
      the conversion and salvation of the whole world."

      * * *


      "during this important time, as the eve of the new millennium
      approaches unity among all Christians of the various confessions will
      increase until they reach full communion." John Paul II, Tertio
      Millennio Adveniente, 16

      "Keep close to the Mother of God as if you were the child Jesus
      clinging to her robes while walking down a dusty and busy crowded
      street and you'll always be safe."

      * * *

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