Friday, April 01, 2005

Reflections on Pope John Paul II

In 1986-1987 I was in Seminary, at St. John Vianney College Seminary. That was the year we were preparing for the next Papal Tour of the United States. I left the Seminary in May of 1987 because I could not put God and politics in the same sentance. It was later in 1987 that Pope John Paul II came to Miami.

I remember Lisa, Tony and a few friends of mine and myself who gathered at the Youth Fair grounds at 4am the morning of the Papal Mass to recite to rosay and to pray through the night. As the sun rose, we were still reciting the rosary as the Papal Entourage made its way into the park. The skies were clear up until the arrival. Suddenly the clouds rolled in and mass begain. There was a crush of thousands of people in the park. Yellow and white flags were being raised, along with the flags of every coutry represented in the crowd. "Viva El Papa" could be heard from the worshippers. It was an experience I will never forget. As the Holy Father started the Mass, it began to rain. And it wasn't just a light rain, it was pouring cats, dogs and little fishes.

Many people left in the rain. Many people stayed. We decided to stay and wait to see if the Holy Father would finish the mass once the rain stopped falling. At the moment for the life of me, I do not remember what we did after that. Anyways, we were seated about 20 feet from the altar at that point. That was the closest the I came to him.

A that same year I went to Rome, to visit Rome and the Vatican. While there I was fortunate enough to be in His presence and recieve a scapular from him, which I carry in my reliquary packet in my backpack to this day. I may have issues with the church, but this man had made significant changes to the Church as a whole, he canonized more saints in his papacy - more than all the past popes combined in years past.

Pope John Paul II canonized one of my relatives: Marguerite D'Youville on December 9th 1990. I visit the Mother House of the Grey Nun's which is a few blocks from my present home. Marguerite is interred beneath the main altar of the chapel where mass is said daily.

So there is a family connection between Marguerite D'Youville, The Grey Nuns and the Holy Father. I once wrote the Holy Father after I left the Seminary and I got a very special letter from his secretary at the Vatican. In it was another scapular that I also carry in my reliquary.


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