The Dope Pope of Hope
This upcoming Friday, October 22nd, we celebrate the Feast day of Pope St. John Paul II. Many of you know that he is a personal favorite of mine. I have fond memories of him as a child and loved to hear my mom and grandparents talk about St. John Paul II. He lived from 1920 to 2005 and was elected Pope in 1978. I firmly believe that his 27 years as the Pope will be looked at as a pivotal point in the history of Catholicism.
There are thousands of ways to describe St. John Paul II. His highly respected biographer, George Weigel, has written two volumes about JPII totaling 1,403 pages. I couldn’t recommend these books enough; they’re entitled Witness to Hope and The End and the Beginning.
One aspect of his life was his constant emphasis on the universal call to holiness. He constantly emphasized the teaching of the Second Vatican Council that each and every person is called to holiness, called to become a saint.
He emphasized this by the canonization of saints. He streamlined the process to investigate the possibility of canonization and utilized the expedited process to canonize saints from every walk of life and cultures across the globe. John Paul II beatified 1,338 men and women (the final step toward canonization) and he canonized 482 new saints. Those are absolutely astonishing numbers.
John Paul II wanted to give us examples of holiness. He wanted to show us that becoming a saint is possible. The saints show us that it is possible to live a life transformed for the Gospel and madly in love with Jesus Christ. This is the goal for each of us: we are called to be saints.
As we set out on the next few years in our parish life, I hope and pray that this reality may be ingrained in each of us. You and I were made for sanctity. God gives all the necessary tools for us to be a saint. Let us set forth on this incredible journey.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson