First feast

Our Sunday Visitor offers this today, on this very first celebration of the feast of Saint John Paul II:

Today, Oct. 22, marks the first feast day of Pope St. John Paul II, who was canonized April 27 along with Pope St. John XXIII.

Barry Hudock wrote on the legacy of this great pope earlier this year:

“Pope St. John Paul II reminded the Church of its central mission: the proclamation of Jesus Christ to the world. From his very first encyclical letter in which he proclaimed Jesus as “the center of the universe and of history,” John Paul produced a massive amount of documents, speeches and books marked by the centrality of Jesus and the redemption he won for humanity. Besides his words, this pope also provided a striking personal example, traveling to 129 countries to proclaim the Gospel. On each voyage, he made contact with common people — particularly with the young, the sick and the poor — just as effectively as with world leaders. One of his most striking evangelization efforts is the World Youth Day celebrations. Starting with an event in Rome in 1984, he led massive gatherings of young people in such cities as Buenos Aires, Czestochowa, Denver and Sydney. (The 1995 event in Manila brought a gathering of a stunning 5 million people, one of the largest gatherings of people for any reason in history.)”

As we remember Pope St. John Paul II today, here’s a short prayer in his honor:

Wise and gracious God,
in your divine wisdom
you send Pope Saint John Paul II
to guide and shepherd the Church
in changing times.

He courageously defended all human life
from conception to death.
Through his intercession, we pray,
strengthen us to follow in his footsteps
so that we might experience
“true joy and authentic love,
and a lasting solidarity among peoples.”

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pope St. John Paul II, pray for us.

Happy day!

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