Monday, May 2, 2011

Blessed John Paul II, pray for us!

Yesterday, at a Mass celebrated in front of an estimated 1.5 million pilgrims outside St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Pope Benedict officially proclaimed his predecessor, John Paul II, to be "beatified." This is the final step before full-blown canonization, or sainthood.

Tapestry of newly-Blessed John Paul II in St. Peter's Square.

Remembered for many great deeds and the Christian inspiration that he fostered in countless billions throughout the decades, Blessed John Paul was called "the rock star pope," but he was nothing if not humble. Quite often, he characterized his great works in the Church as the being nothing more than the works of a simple priest and he constantly encouraged young men to give heartfelt and prayerful consideration to the calling to the priesthood. "Do not be afraid," said Blessed John Paul. "Open your hearts to Christ. The deepest joy there is in life is the joy that comes from God and is found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus Christ is the hope of yours. He is my hope. He is the hope of the world!"