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Sunday, May 1, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2011 (VIS) - Over 200,000 people attended the vigil in preparation for the beatification of John Paul II. It began at 8:00pm in Rome's Circo Massimo with a video recalling the Jubilee Year of 2000 and the song "Jesus Christ, You Are My Life", which was performed by the Choir of the Diocese of Rome and the Orchestra of the Santa Cecilia Conservatory, led by Msgr. Marco Frisina.

  Following that, 30 youth from Rome's parishes and diocesan chaplaincies placed lighted candles before a copy of the icon of Mary Salus Populi Romani, the patroness of the city. Then a brief video was shown recalling the final months of John Paul II's pontificate, a time marked by his suffering.

  After the performance of the Polish song, O Mother of Mercy, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the former director of the Holy See Press Office during the soon-to-be Blessed's pontificate, gave an address.

  "When, during the funeral of John Paul II, I saw the banners with the slogan 'Saint Now', I thought: 'they arrive late, as one is a saint in life, or never will be'. And such was John Paul II", said the director of the Holy See Press Office from 1984 to 2006. "For a Christian, to pray is a duty yet also the fruit of conviction: for John Paul II it was a necessity, he was unable to live without prayer. To see him pray was to see a person engaged in conversation with God... he filled his prayer with the needs of others... He received thousands of messages from all over the world. I saw him on his knees for hours in his chapel with these messages in his hands. ...Take one, leave another... they were the theme of his conversations with God. I don't think any space remained in his prayer for himself, that he ever prayed for 'his own needs'. .. I learned much from him regarding the human person, in which he saw the image of God, and this was central to his pontificate: respect for the transcendent character of the person, who is at risk of being treated as a thing, as an object. And this respect is something that, once experienced alongside someone like him, one can never forget... Thank you, John Paul II, for the masterpiece that, with the help of God, you made of your life!"

  "My John Paul", a video made by the University Pastoral Care Office of the Vicariate of Rome preceded the testimonial of Sr. Marie Simon-Pierre, the French nun whose miraculous cure paved the way for the process of beatification.

 "I had suffered from Parkinson's disease from 2001", she said, "and the clinical signs of the illness worsened in the weeks after John Paul II's death. On the afternoon of 2 June 2005 I asked the Mother Superior Sr. Marie Thomas to meet with another nun who could take over the responsibilities of the Catholic Maternity services because I didn't have the strength, I was exhausted ... The Mother Superior listened attentively ... reminding me that all of the order's communities were praying for my healing, invoking the intercession of John Paul II ... They were hoping for a miracle that could help contribute to the cause for the beatification of this pope who had been so important to our institute. I was cured during the night between the second and third of June of that year (2005). During the night I awoke with a start and went to our community's chapel to pray before the Most Holy Sacrament. A great peace came over me, a sense of well-being ... Later, I joined the community to pray lauds and receive the Eucharist ... I had to walk for about 50 meters. It was then that I realized that my left arm, which had been paralyzed because of the illness, was beginning to move. It has been six years since I've received any treatment. Since my cure, my life is normal ... What the Lord has caused me to live through the intercession of John Paul II is a great mystery, which is difficult to explain with words ... From the moment I accepted that the entire congregation was praying for John Paul II's intercession for my recovery, I always said that I would go to the very end so that our prayers might be heard. Yes, to the end so that John Paul II might be recognized as blessed and a saint of his time, to the end for the Church, to the end so that the world might believe, to the end so that life might be respected and that all who work in service of life might be fortified".

  Following this, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz addressed the pilgrims:

  "The Pope, who we had committed to the ground just six years ago, is today restored to us, 'blessed' in Heaven" said the Cardinal Archbishop of Krakow. "And so we can also officially, communally, invoke him, invoke his intercession, praise God through him... If today he is proclaimed a Blessed, it is because he was already holy during his life, and also for us who knew him. ... Most of the time spent in his company was passed in silence, as this was the attitude he preferred. To be with John Paul II meant to love his silence. To collaborate with him, to be his secretary, meant above all guaranteeing his living space, his autonomy, protecting his freedom, which primarily meant space and time for God... John Paul II loved God. He sought Him, he never tired of being with Him. He knew how to immerse himself in God, everywhere, in all conditions: even when he studied, or was surrounded by people, he did so with the greatest ease".

  The cardinal's testimony led into the singing of the hymn "Totus Tuus", which was composed for the 50th anniversary of the priestly ordination of John Paul II. This brought the first part of the evening to an end.

  The second part began with the singing of the hymn for John Paul II, "Open the Doors to Christ", followed by an address by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar of the Diocese of Rome.

  "Even though it has been six years," said the bishop, "since the death of the great Pope-Bishop of Rome and Pastor of the universal Church for 27 years-his memory is particularly vibrant. We feel veneration, affection, admiration, and deep gratitude for the beloved pontiff. We, above all, remember his witness of faith: a convinced and strong faith, free from fear or compromises, true until his last breath, forged by trails, fatigue, and illness, whose beneficent influence has spread throughout the Church, indeed, throughout the world. His witness, through his apostolic travels, inspired millions of men and women of all races and cultures. ... He was witness to the tragic age of big ideologies, totalitarian regimes, and from their passing John Paul II embraced the harsh suffering, marked by tension and contradictions, of the transition of the modern age toward a new phase of history, showing constant concern that the human person be its protagonist. With his gaze fixed on Christ, the Redeemer of humanity, he believed in humanity and showed his openness, trust, and closeness. He loved the human person, pushing us to develop in ourselves the potential of faith to live as free persons, cooperating in the realization of a more just and caring humanity, as workers for peace and builders of hope. ... In his extraordinary energy of love for humanity he loved, with a kind and tender love, all those 'wounded by life', as he called the poor, the sick, the nameless, and those excluded a priori-but he had a particular love for the youth. His calls for the World Youth Days had the purpose of making youth into the protagonists of their own future, becoming builders of history. The remembrance of our beloved pontiff, prophet of hope, should not mean a return to the past for us, but let us make the most of his human and spiritual heritage; let it be an impetus to look forward."

  After this, the Rosary was prayed, following the Mysteries of Light, through a live link with five Marian sanctuaries. Each sanctuary prayed for a particular intention and videos of the messages and homilies of John Paul II related to each intention were shown before the prayer. The sanctuary of Lagiewniki in Krakow, Poland prayed for the youth; the sanctuary of Kawekamo in Bugando, Tanzania, for the family; the sanctuary of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa, Lebanon, for evangelization; the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Mexico, for hope and peace among nations; and the Sanctuary of Fatima in Portugal, for the Church.

  At the end of the ceremony, Benedict XVI, in a live link from the Vatican, recited a prayer to the Virgin: "Help us always to account for the hope that is in us, with trust in the goodness of humanity created by God in His image and in the Father's love. Teach us to renew the world from within: in the depths of silence and prayer, in the joy of fraternal love, in the unique fruitfulness of the Cross". At the end of the prayer, the Holy Father imparted the apostolic blessing on those participating in the vigil.
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VATICAN CITY, 1 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Following the penitential act of the Mass of Beatification, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar General of the Pontiff for the Diocese of Rome, joined Benedict XVI, along with the postulator for the cause of beatification, Msgr. Slawomir Oder, and asked that the beatification of the Servant of God, John Paul II, might proceed:

Beatissime Pater,
Vicarius Generalis Sanctitatis Vestrae
pro Romana Dioecesi,
humillime a Sanctitate Vestra petit
ut Venerabilem Servum Dei
Ioannem Paulum II, papam,
numero Beatorum adscribere
benignissime digneris.
(Most blessed Father, Your Holiness' Vicar General for the Diocese for Rome humbly asks your Holiness to beneficently deign to inscribe the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II in the number of the Blessed.)

  He then read a brief biography of the Polish Pontiff:

  Karol Józef Wojtyla was born in the Polish town of Wadowice on 18 May 1920 to Karol and Emilia Kaczorowska. He was baptized on 20 June of that year in Wadowice's parish church.

  The second of two children, the joy and serenity of his childhood was shaken by the premature death of his mother when Karol was nine (1929). Three years later, in 1932, his older brother Edmund also died and then in 1941, when he was 21, he also lost his father.

  Brought up in a solid patriotic and religious tradition, he learned from his father, a deeply Christian man, piety and love for one's neighbor, which he nourished with constant prayer and participation in the sacraments.

  The characteristics of his spirituality, to which he remained faithful until his death, were a sincere devotion to the Holy Spirit and love for the Madonna. His relationship with the Mother of God was particularly deep and vibrant, lived with the tenderness of a child who abandons himself to his mother's embrace and with the vigor of a gallant, always ready for his lady's command: "Do what my Son asks!" His complete trust in Mary, which as a bishop he expressed with the motto Totus tuus, also reveals his secret of looking at the world with the eyes of the Mother of God.

  Young Karol's rich personality matured with the interweaving of his intellectual, moral, and spiritual gifts with the events of his day, which marked the history of his country and of Europe.

  During the years of his secondary education, a passion for theatre and poetry grew in him, which he cultivated in the theatrical group of the Faculty of Philology at Krakow's Jagiellonian University where he was enrolled during the 1938 academic year.

  During the period of Nazi occupation of Poland, together with his studies that he carried on in secret, he spent four years (October 1940 to August 1944) working in the Solvay chemical factory, directly encountering the social problems of the working world and gathering the precious wealth of experience that he was able to draw upon in his future social teachings, first as Archbishop of Krakow and subsequently as Supreme Pontiff.

  Throughout these years his inclination towards the priesthood developed, a path he furthered by attending clandestine courses in theology at the Seminary of Krakow from October of 1942. He was assisted greatly in recognizing his priestly vocation by a lay man, Jan Tyranowski, a true apostle of youth. From then on the young Karol had a clear understanding of the universal call to holiness of all Christians, and the fundamental role of the laity in the mission of the Church.

  He received priestly ordination on 1 November 1946 and the day after, in the evocative atmosphere of the crypt of St. Leonard in the cathedral of Wawel, he celebrated his first Mass.

  He was sent to Rome to complete his theological formation at the Faculty of Theology of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), where he was immersed in the source of sound doctrine, having his first encounter with the vibrancy and richness of the Universal Church from the privileged position of life on the other side of the 'Iron Curtain'. At around this time he met with Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.

  After graduating with highest honors in June of 1948, he returned to Krakow to begin his pastoral duties as a parish vicar. He undertook his ministry with enthusiasm and generosity. After obtaining his university teaching qualification, he began teaching in the Faculty of Theology at the Jagiellonian University then, when that faculty was closed, in the diocesan Seminary of Krakow and the Catholic University of Lublin.

  The years he spent in the company of young students enabled him to gain a profound understanding of the restlessness of their hearts and the young priest was a not only a teacher for them, but also a spiritual guide and friend.

  At the age of 38 he was appointed as auxiliary bishop of Krakow. On 28 September 1958, he was ordained a bishop by Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak, whom he succeeded as archbishop of Krakow in 1964. He was created a cardinal by Pope Paul VI on 26 June 1967.

  As bishop of the Diocese of Krakow, he was immediately appreciated as a man of robust and courageous faith, close to the people and aware of the real problems they faced.

  He was an interlocutor capable of listening and of dialogue without ever conceding to compromise. He affirmed to all the primacy of God and of Christ as the foundation for a true humanism and the source of inalienable human rights. Beloved by his priests and esteemed by his brother bishops, he was also feared by those who regarded him as an adversary.

  On 16 October 1978 he was elected Bishop and Pontiff of Rome and took the name of John Paul II. His shepherd's heart, entirely given over to the cause of the Kingdom of God, was opened to the entire world. "Christ's love" led him to visit the parishes of Rome and to announce the Gospel in all places. It was the driving force for his innumerable apostolic visits to various continents, undertaken to confirm his Christian brothers and sisters in the faith, to comfort the afflicted and the discouraged, to bring the message of reconciliation between Christian faiths, and to build bridges of friendship between believers in the one God and all of good will.

  His illustrious teachings focused on nothing other than proclaiming Christ, the sole Savior of humanity, always and everywhere.

  In his extraordinary missionary zeal, he had a particular love for the young. He envisioned the World Youth Day gatherings with the objective of announcing Jesus Christ and his Gospel to the new generations in order to enable them to actively shape their future and to co-operate in building a better world.

  His solicitude as universal Shepherd was demonstrated in the convocation of numerous assemblies of the Synods of Bishops, the erection of dioceses and ecclesiastical circumscriptions, in the promulgation of the Codes of Canon Law for the Latin and Eastern Churches and the catechism of the Catholic Church, and in the publication of encyclical letters and apostolic exhortations. In order to promote occasions for a more intense spiritual life for the People of God, he proclaimed the extraordinary Jubilee of Redemption, the Marian Year, the Year of the Eucharist, and the Great Jubilee of 2000.

  John Paul II had lived through the tragic experience of two dictatorships, survived an assassination attempt on 13 May 1981 and, in his later years, suffered grave physical hardship due to the progression of his illness. However, his overwhelming optimism, based on his trust in divine Providence, drove him to constantly look to horizons of hope, inviting people to break down the walls between them, to brush aside passivity in order to attain the goals of spiritual, moral and material renewal.

  He concluded his long and fruitful earthly existence in the Vatican Apostolic Palace on Saturday, 2 April 2005, the vigil of the Second Sunday of Easter (Dominica in Albis), which he entitled the Sunday of Divine Mercy. The funeral was held in St. Peter's Square on 8 April 2005.

  A touching testimony of the good he brought about during his life was seen by the participation of delegations from all over the world and of millions of men and women, believers and non-believers alike, who recognized in him a clear sign of God's love for humanity.

  Cardinal Vallini concluded by thanking the Pope with the following words:

Beatissime Pater,
Vicarius Sanctitatis Vestrae
pro Romana Dioecesi,
gratias ex animo Sanctitati Vestrae agit
quod titulum Beati
Venerabili Servo Dei
Ioanni Paulo II, papae
Conferre dignatus es.
(Most Blessed Father, the Vicar General of His Holiness for the Diocese of Rome gives heartfelt thanks to Your Holiness for conferring the title of Blessed to the venerable Servant of God, Pope John Paul II.)
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VATICAN CITY, 1 MAY 2011 (VIS) - At 10:00am this morning, the Second Sunday of Easter of Divine Mercy Sunday, Benedict XVI presided over the Eucharistic celebration during which Servant of God John Paul II, Pope (1920-2005) was proclaimed a Blessed, and whose feastday will be celebrated 22 October every year from now on.

  Eighty-seven delegations from various countries, among which were 5 royal houses, 16 heads of state - including the presidents of Poland and Italy - and 7 prime ministers, attended the ceremony.

  Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world filled St. Peter's Square and the streets adjacent. The ceremony could also be followed on the various giant screens installed in Circo Massimo and various squares around the city.

  The text of the Pope's homily follows:

  "Dear Brothers and Sisters,

  Six years ago we gathered in this Square to celebrate the funeral of Pope John Paul II. Our grief at his loss was deep, but even greater was our sense of an immense grace which embraced Rome and the whole world: a grace which was in some way the fruit of my beloved predecessor's entire life, and especially of his witness in suffering. Even then we perceived the fragrance of his sanctity, and in any number of ways God's People showed their veneration for him. For this reason, with all due respect for the Church's canonical norms, I wanted his cause of beatification to move forward with reasonable haste. And now the longed-for day has come; it came quickly because this is what was pleasing to the Lord: John Paul II is blessed!

  I would like to offer a cordial greeting to all of you who on this happy occasion have come in such great numbers to Rome from all over the world - cardinals, patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churches, brother bishops and priests, official delegations, ambassadors and civil authorities, consecrated men and women and lay faithful, and I extend that greeting to all those who join us by radio and television.

  Today is the Second Sunday of Easter, which Blessed John Paul II entitled Divine Mercy Sunday. The date was chosen for today's celebration because, in God's providence, my predecessor died on the vigil of this feast. Today is also the first day of May, Mary's month, and the liturgical memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker. All these elements serve to enrich our prayer, they help us in our pilgrimage through time and space; but in heaven a very different celebration is taking place among the angels and saints! Even so, God is but one, and one too is Christ the Lord, who like a bridge joins earth to heaven. At this moment we feel closer than ever, sharing as it were in the liturgy of heaven.

  'Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe' (Jn 20:29). In today's Gospel Jesus proclaims this beatitude: the beatitude of faith. For us, it is particularly striking because we are gathered to celebrate a beatification, but even more so because today the one proclaimed blessed is a Pope, a Successor of Peter, one who was called to confirm his brethren in the faith. John Paul II is blessed because of his faith, a strong, generous and apostolic faith. We think at once of another beatitude: 'Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven' (Mt 16:17). What did our heavenly Father reveal to Simon? That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Because of this faith, Simon becomes Peter, the rock on which Jesus can build his Church. The eternal beatitude of John Paul II, which today the Church rejoices to proclaim, is wholly contained in these sayings of Jesus: 'Blessed are you, Simon' and 'Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe!' It is the beatitude of faith, which John Paul II also received as a gift from God the Father for the building up of Christ's Church.

  Our thoughts turn to yet another beatitude, one which appears in the Gospel before all others. It is the beatitude of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer. Mary, who had just conceived Jesus, was told by Saint Elizabeth: 'Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord' (Lk 1:45). The beatitude of faith has its model in Mary, and all of us rejoice that the beatification of John Paul II takes place on this first day of the month of Mary, beneath the maternal gaze of the one who by her faith sustained the faith of the Apostles and constantly sustains the faith of their successors, especially those called to occupy the Chair of Peter. Mary does not appear in the accounts of Christ's resurrection, yet hers is, as it were, a continual, hidden presence: she is the Mother to whom Jesus entrusted each of his disciples and the entire community. In particular we can see how Saint John and Saint Luke record the powerful, maternal presence of Mary in the passages preceding those read in today's Gospel and first reading. In the account of Jesus' death, Mary appears at the foot of the Cross (Jn 19:25), and at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles she is seen in the midst of the disciples gathered in prayer in the Upper Room (Acts 1:14).

  Today's second reading also speaks to us of faith. St. Peter himself, filled with spiritual enthusiasm, points out to the newly-baptized the reason for their hope and their joy. I like to think how in this passage, at the beginning of his First Letter, Peter does not use language of exhortation; instead, he states a fact. He writes: 'you rejoice', and he adds: 'you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls' (1 Pt 1:6, 8-9). All these verbs are in the indicative, because a new reality has come about in Christ's resurrection, a reality to which faith opens the door. 'This is the Lord's doing', says the Psalm (Ps 118:23), and 'it is marvelous in our eyes', the eyes of faith.

  Dear brothers and sisters, today our eyes behold, in the full spiritual light of the risen Christ, the beloved and revered figure of John Paul II. Today his name is added to the host of those whom he proclaimed saints and blesseds during the almost twenty-seven years of his pontificate, thereby forcefully emphasizing the universal vocation to the heights of the Christian life, to holiness, taught by the conciliar Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. All of us, as members of the people of God - bishops, priests, deacons, laity, men and women religious - are making our pilgrim way to the heavenly homeland where the Virgin Mary has preceded us, associated as she was in a unique and perfect way to the mystery of Christ and the Church. Karol Wojtyla took part in the Second Vatican Council, first as an auxiliary Bishop and then as Archbishop of Krakow. He was fully aware that the Council's decision to devote the last chapter of its Constitution on the Church to Mary meant that the Mother of the Redeemer is held up as an image and model of holiness for every Christian and for the entire Church. This was the theological vision which Blessed John Paul II discovered as a young man and subsequently maintained and deepened throughout his life. A vision which is expressed in the scriptural image of the crucified Christ with Mary, his Mother, at his side. This icon from the Gospel of John (19:25-27) was taken up in the episcopal and later the papal coat-of-arms of Karol Wojtyla: a golden cross with the letter 'M' on the lower right and the motto 'Totus tuus', drawn from the well-known words of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort in which Karol Wojtyla found a guiding light for his life: 'Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt. Accipio te in mea omnia. Praebe mihi cor tuum, Maria - I belong entirely to you, and all that I have is yours. I take you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart' (Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, 266).

  In his Testament, the new Blessed wrote: 'When, on 16 October 1978, the Conclave of Cardinals chose John Paul II, the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, said to me: "The task of the new Pope will be to lead the Church into the Third Millennium"'. And the Pope added: 'I would like once again to express my gratitude to the Holy Spirit for the great gift of the Second Vatican Council, to which, together with the whole Church - and especially with the whole episcopate - I feel indebted. I am convinced that it will long be granted to the new generations to draw from the treasures that this Council of the twentieth century has lavished upon us. As a Bishop who took part in the Council from the first to the last day, I desire to entrust this great patrimony to all who are and will be called in the future to put it into practice. For my part, I thank the Eternal Shepherd, who has enabled me to serve this very great cause in the course of all the years of my Pontificate'. And what is this 'cause'? It is the same one that John Paul II presented during his first solemn Mass in Saint Peter's Square in the unforgettable words: 'Do not be afraid! Open, open wide the doors to Christ!' What the newly-elected Pope asked of everyone, he was himself the first to do: society, culture, political and economic systems he opened up to Christ, turning back with the strength of a titan - a strength which came to him from God - a tide which appeared irreversible. By his witness of faith, love and apostolic courage, accompanied by great human charisma, this exemplary son of Poland helped believers throughout the world not to be afraid to be called Christian, to belong to the Church, to speak of the Gospel. In a word: he helped us not to fear the truth, because truth is the guarantee of liberty. To put it even more succinctly: he gave us the strength to believe in Christ, because Christ is Redemptor hominis, the Redeemer of man. This was the theme of his first encyclical, and the thread which runs though all the others.

  When Karol Wojtyla ascended to the throne of Peter, he brought with him a deep understanding of the difference between Marxism and Christianity, based on their respective visions of man. This was his message: man is the way of the Church, and Christ is the way of man. With this message, which is the great legacy of the Second Vatican Council and of its 'helmsman', the Servant of God Pope Paul VI, John Paul II led the People of God across the threshold of the Third Millennium, which thanks to Christ he was able to call 'the threshold of hope'. Throughout the long journey of preparation for the great Jubilee he directed Christianity once again to the future, the future of God, which transcends history while nonetheless directly affecting it. He rightly reclaimed for Christianity that impulse of hope which had in some sense faltered before Marxism and the ideology of progress. He restored to Christianity its true face as a religion of hope, to be lived in history in an 'Advent' spirit, in a personal and communitarian existence directed to Christ, the fullness of humanity and the fulfillment of all our longings for justice and peace.

  Finally, on a more personal note, I would like to thank God for the gift of having worked for many years with Blessed Pope John Paul II. I had known him earlier and had esteemed him, but for twenty-three years, beginning in 1982 after he called me to Rome to be Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I was at his side and came to revere him all the more. My own service was sustained by his spiritual depth and by the richness of his insights. His example of prayer continually impressed and edified me: he remained deeply united to God even amid the many demands of his ministry. Then too, there was his witness in suffering: the Lord gradually stripped him of everything, yet he remained ever a 'rock', as Christ desired. His profound humility, grounded in close union with Christ, enabled him to continue to lead the Church and to give to the world a message which became all the more eloquent as his physical strength declined. In this way he lived out in an extraordinary way the vocation of every priest and bishop to become completely one with Jesus, whom he daily receives and offers in the Eucharist.

  Blessed are you, beloved Pope John Paul II, because you believed! Continue, we implore you, to sustain from heaven the faith of God's people. How many time you blessed us from this very square. Holy Father, bless us again from that window. Amen".
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VATICAN CITY, 1 MAY 2011 (VIS) - At the end of the beatification Mass and before the Regina Coeli, the Holy Father greeted the pilgrims and the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square and the surrounding area.

  Speaking in French the Pope asked that "the life and work of Blessed John Paul II be the source of a renewed dedication to the service of all persons and all humankind. I ask him to bless the efforts of all in building a civilization of love, respecting the dignity of each person, created in the image of God, with special attention to those who are weakest".

  Then, addressing the pilgrims in English, Benedict XVI expressed the wish that the new Blessed's "example of firm faith in Christ, the Redeemer of Man, inspire us to live fully the new life which we celebrate at Easter, to be icons of divine mercy, and, and to work for a world in which the dignity and rights of every man, woman, and child are respected and promoted".

  "I invite you", he continued in Spanish, "to follow the example of faithfulness and love for Christ and Church that he left us as a precious inheritance. May his intercession always accompany us from heaven, so that the faith of Your peoples remain solid at its roots and that peace and harmony sustain the necessary progress of Your peoples".

  On greeting the Polish dignitaries the Pope asked that their fellow countryman "obtain for you and your earthy nation the gift of peace, unity, and every prosperity".

  Benedict XVI finished by thanking the Italian authorities for their collaboration in organizing the day. "I extend my most heartfelt greetings to all the pilgrims - those gathered here in St. Peter's Square, the adjoining streets, and other places around Rome - and all those who have joined in via radio and television; ... to the ill and the elderly, with whom the new Blessed felt particularly close".

  At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, the Holy Father, accompanied by the concelebrating cardinals, walked inside the Vatican basilica to venerate the new Blessed. Then the various dignitaries present, along with the bishops, entered, following which the other faithful present also had the opportunity to venerate the new Blessed.
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