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A Beloved Pope Becomes a Beloved Saint

pope john paul IIThis Sunday, on Divine Mercy Sunday, our beloved Pope John Paul II will be canonized as a saint. I doubt there was a single person who questioned that this day would one day come. Many of us are so thrilled that it is sooner than later! What a joy this day will be for all of us! I feel very blessed to be able to witness his life, his death, and his official canonization.

In his honor I want to share something I wrote on April 2, 2005. When our wonderful Papa died I felt it very intensely. How funny that a man I had never met, had never talked to, and who didn’t even know I existed would have such an impact on my life. But he did. He was such an influence in my life and I, like so many, mourned when he died. I look up to him for his teachings on life and love, forgiveness and trust. He touched me in so many ways.

I would love if you would share your memories of our amazing Papa with us. In the coming days we are sure to see how the world remembers him but I would love to hear how he affected your life. Has he helped changed the way you view others? Your view on life? Faith? How and why was he important to you?

Below you will find my memories of the days following his death. My heart still misses this great man but I know he has claimed his heavenly inheritance and is surrounded by all the other saints and angels giving praise to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. What better reward could one ask for? On Sunday I plan to celebrate with the world as our Church recognizes and canonizes this great man. May we each live our lives in such a manner that glorifies our Lord in all we say and do. May those who see us in turn see Christ’s light shining brightly in the dark night.

A Sad Day for the World

pope john paul wailing wallRegardless of the faith you profess, the passing of Pope John Paul II is very sad. As a Catholic I am sad for many reasons but mostly because he was such an outstanding human. Notice here I didn’t say Catholic, I didn’t say Christian, I didn’t say man. I said human. The Pope could see past the invisible lines that separate us all from each other. He bridged gaps between Christians and Jews, between Christians and Muslims, between Jews and Muslims. He wanted the world to be united in its love for God. He took tremendous strides in helping to heal past pains and to make steps toward that ultimate unity that he knows the Lord hopes for. Yes, he was the leader of the Catholic Church, but he was a man that mirrored Jesus’ life, one filled with the love of God, concern for others and an unwavering faith.

pope john paul with babyThe Pope was so concerned about human rights that he made it a pillar of his ministry and evangelization. He lifted human life up and reminded us that we are made in God’s likeness and so must respect life in all its forms… from the unborn to the handicapped; from the youth to the elderly; from Americans to Africans to Europeans. All life was sacred and he was at the forefront in helping to defend and preserve the sanctity of life. He was definitely one of the soldiers in God’s army… ready to defend the gifts and the precious life that God gave us.

I have sat watching the news channels, seeing the life of the Pope unfold, hearing the testimonials from not only Catholics but from Jews, Muslims, and other Christians throughout the world. I am in awe at the far reaching affect that Pope John Paul II has had. God certainly worked through this holy man. He has touched so many lives. I think that some might think he had no effect on their lives but his firm stand on moral issues, his willingness to help all others and his desire to unite the world for the Lord does touch every single person.

I feel lucky to have lived in a time that was blessed with a man as holy and as dedicated to the Lord as Pope John Paul II was. We should all strive to have the faith and dedication that he possessed. I am sad that our Pontiff has passed but am thrilled to think of him in Heaven. He is no longer suffering. He is with our Lord Jesus now and one cannot be sad about that!

I pray that we are further blessed with another Pope who is as dedicated to God and His people as Pope John Paul II was. I pray that perhaps others will view the Pope as not just the leader of the Catholic Church but as an ambassador from God. Someone sent to help the world continue to heal, continue to strengthen our bonds and help us to see and live the life that God is calling us all to live.

May Pope John Paul II rest in peace.

pope john paul II

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About Michelle Fritz

Michelle Fritz is a daughter of God, a cradle Catholic, a Georgia peach, a devoted wife of almost 30 years to amazing husband Mike, and an eclectic homeschooling mother to eleven living children. She has experienced the loss of 16 babies in her call to be open to life, but knows that God is always loving and always gracious. She and her husband know that they have an army of Saints already in heaven! In addition to her vocation as wife, mom, and homeschool teacher she also holds a Masters in Theology and has recently taken on the role of Youth Minister for both the middle school and high school groups at her parish.

  • carol bireley - Pope John Paul II became pope when I was 6 and remained so for 25 years. When he died, I felt like my father had passed away. The first time at Mass when I heard them say “our pope, Benedict”, I thought that it just sounded wrong. Not that I didn’t come to like Benedict, but I felt like my Mom had remarried the day after my Dad died. I know that it was necessary, but I just mourned for a long time. On a lighter note, one of the funniest things about Pope John Paul II was a t-shirt that my Grandpa bought. It was like a rock group t-shirt with their tour dates on it. It listed all of his appearances in the U.S that year. It was called the Pope Tour shirt. After my Grandpa died, we made sure that “the shirt” didn’t get thrown away. My Uncle Mike has it and it goes to me when he passes.April 22, 2014 – 2:03 pmReplyCancel

  • Michelle - Carol, I felt very similarly. I grew to love Pope Benedict and remember exactly where I was when I saw the smoke rise at the Vatican (and cried both in joy and in sorrow) but I have always missed and loved PJP II. He was a surrogate father for me, especially a spiritual father as I didn’t have much guidance spiritually growing up. I love your story about “the shirt”. What a great memory! I would have loved to own a shirt like that 🙂 Thank you for sharing with me. <3 ~MichelleApril 22, 2014 – 4:53 pmReplyCancel

  • Maria - I met Pope John Paul and my life was amazingly changed. My husband and I has been trying for 7 years to conceive a child and could not. We prayed and visited shrines everywhere. One year – on a chance meeting one cold icy night- we were invited personally by Cardinal (now Archbishop) Keeler on a pilgrimage to go to Rome. We hardly had any money as I was still in training in medicine. Also- I was on call the week of the trip. God had a plan – my work – non Catholics and Some non Christians said they would cover me – we received a tax refund in about the amt for the trip. We headed to Rome and in a private audience I was blessed by and held by Pope John Paul II. it was amazing and a day never go forget. We promised each other if we had a son we’d name him after the Pope. Eventually – we had our one and only son- and he’s named for him. Yes! We knew this Pope would be a saint. You’ve inspired me and I am going to share this story on my blog this weekend with photos. It’s a crafting blog but I’m going to take a chance and deviate.April 23, 2014 – 5:49 amReplyCancel

  • Andrea Hoffman - This is so beautifully written! AMEN! Before I read what you wrote in 2005, I thought to myself what makes Pope John Paul II so influential in my own life. First and foremost, I was a kid during his papacy and now that I’m an adult I can look back and see what value JPII placed on the youth of Christ’s church. He loved us. Second, you summed up my thoughts in your reflection from 2005. He led by example in loving ALL of God’s people where they are at. He was a pillar of peace. I can’t remember the exact number but doesn’t it just blow one’s mind to know how many languages he spoke. It’s like 10 or 12 or something like that. Sunday is going to be such an exciting day to be a Catholic. Thank you for your blog.April 23, 2014 – 6:52 amReplyCancel

  • Michelle Fritz - Maria, what an amazing story and such a huge blessing! Please, when you write your story come back and link it so we can all read it. Thank you for sharing with us! I know your story will inspire so many!April 23, 2014 – 8:04 amReplyCancel

  • Michelle Fritz - Andrea, I was very little when Pope John Paul II was made Pope. In my very early days I had no idea of his importance. It wasn’t until later that I came to realize how special he truly was. I grew up as a baby Christian into a very devout Christian a lot in part to him. He was so influential in so many lives. I’m so happy you shared your thoughts and experiences too and so glad to know he touched your life as well!April 23, 2014 – 8:08 amReplyCancel

  • Maria - I did it! And the response was overwhelmingly positive. I told my story with photos of meeting Pope John Paul II.
    Here’s the link
    http://www.stampinandscrappinwithriri.blogspot.com/2014/04/i-met-saint-and-its-divine-mercy-sunday.html?m=1April 27, 2014 – 4:20 pmReplyCancel

  • Michelle Fritz - What a fabulous story Maria! Thank you for sharing it!April 29, 2014 – 10:44 pmReplyCancel

  • Going for Two | Saint Joseph's College Theology Blog - […] remarkable day with great anticipation.  All sorts of Catholics offer their devotions to John and John Paul.  Their legacies appear where the Church now grows […]May 5, 2014 – 12:00 pmReplyCancel

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