OUR BELOVED HOLY FATHER, Pope John Paul II, passed away at 9.37pm last night (Italian time) in his apartment in the Vatican City.
THE SUNDAYS TIMES reported today that his last words were apparently to the thousands of young people who have come to pray in St Peter's Square on Friday: "I have looked for you. Now you have come to me. And I thank you." (Actually, could he have been talking to our Lord Jesus or Mother Mary?)
According to an online report, he said to Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, his personal secretary and right hand from his days as Archbishop of Krakow (Poland), "I am happy, be it yourselves as well." (So thoughtful of him!)
An online friend, E., wrote, "Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis." (Grant him eternal rest, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him.)
i have no doubt whatsoever regarding this. Actually, i'm not sad that he has died. He has lived a long and meaningful life that touched and changed the lives of millions worldwide for the better. What more need one ask? Even while he has suffered so much in recent years, he has been a source of inspiration and a role model for all who suffer. Yet somehow during prayers at St Mary's last evening, i felt moved to tears. Why? i'm not sure.
Another online friend, A., wrote last night (Singapore time), "I just remembered that today is the first Saturday of the month and that the Holy Father wears the brown carmelite scapular. Isn't it one of the promises of Our Lady about taking souls to heaven on the first Saturday or something? I can't remember.
"I mourn to hear the news, but I do take some comfort in that perhaps Papa will go home to the Lord on Our Lady's day (Saturday) and on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast the Pope instituted and which originated from his homeland."
It's perhaps fitting too that he died on a weekend where Psalm 118 is repeated over and over (on Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Yes, "I shall not die I shall live. Psallite deo psallite!"
(See also Psallite Deo, A Letter to The Holy Father, 'Precious' Suffering and The Suffering Pope.)
I don't think he's perfect. But he's one of my heroes. And I certainly don't think well of some feminists who are determined to turn God into a "She", push women into the priesthood, promote death through abortion ("pro-choice", sic!) and then claim to speak for ALL women.
To me, our Holy Father has been humble during times when it's more important to be reconciliatory (e.g. forgiving and apologizing), and unyielding during times when one should make a strong stand regardless of popular preferences (e.g. culture of death).
I think he'll be best remembered for ecumenism. He has reached out to millions of people within and outside the Church - Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Jews.... It's almost "you name it, you have it".
>An online friend, E., wrote, "Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis." (Grant him eternal rest, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him.)
I feel compelled to clarify...
Although my name is on that email, I didn't "write" (compose) those words -- they were filched directly from the Requiem Mass. I could never come up with anything as beautiful as that...
Also, as Kenny pointed out, it should be "ei" (him) and not "eis" (them).
I am aware of that, E. These are beautiful and appropriate words that many Catholics would say at a funeral.
Have been following news report on ChannelNewsAsia for the latter half of yesterday. One of the reporters, Sheema Gupta, described a moving scene where hundreds of thousands of worshippers kept silent during a prayer service for the pope. "It was electrifying," she said.
BBC (3 April, 2005, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK) also reported: "Hands moved instinctively, making the sign of the cross, and voices whispered prayers. A sense of unity and of sharing a collective experience seemed to calm many of those gathered. Even young children, perched on shoulders, fell silent."
More reports on the pope's last words from the media
CNA (03 April 2005 1821 hrs): Italian media reports said the pontiff slipped away while holding the hand of his personal secretary, Polish Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz. His last word was said to be "amen".
CNA (04 April 2005 0736 hrs): Grieving pilgrims wept openly when they heard their beloved Pope's last message read out to them: "Love converts hearts and gives peace."
"To humanity, which sometimes seems to be lost and dominated by the power of evil, selfishness and fear, the risen Lord gives the gift of his love which forgives, reconciles and reopens the soul to hope," it said.
Pope John Paul II: 1920-2005 by Keith Olbermann on April 2, 2005 | 8:14 p.m. ET (Well-said!)
"As Sunday begins in the Eternal City, the Last day of Easter Week, preparations for his passing have long since been solemnly and mournfully enacted. Transportation increased, and secular activities decreased. Cardinals are heading to Rome.
"But he who lived through the Nazi work-camps...
And recovered when run down by a truck 62 years ago...
Who outlasted the Communists...
Who survived an assassin's bullets...
Shrugged off a tumor...
A man who did not succumb to Parkinson's disease...
And who, when he could no longer get himself down to kiss the ground, simply had them bring the ground up...
A survivor of all still survived, even at the end.
"We were told he had but hours left. That was one whole day, and one brilliant St. Peter's sunrise ago.
"Serene and ready he may have been. But he did not in the words of the poet go gentle into that good night. The fight is at an end, but its story will be told for centuries.
"And there will be another brilliant St. Peter's sunrise. Pope John Paul II: 1920-2005."
Beautiful intro to the Vatican at the National Geographic website:
"The power of the place is inescapable -- and a long way from its humble origins as a graveyard.
For nearly 2,000 years, its story has captured the imagination of millions. From here, a religious faith grew to dominate the western world. Crusades were launched, great inquisitions were convened, governments made and broken.
"It is an accumulation of remarkable buildings and art; it is the smallest sovereign nation, and yet one of the most powerful. If it has a gross national product, it will be measured not in money, but in souls.
Its leader is Europe's last absolute monarch, but a man who is elected by his peers. A man who carries one of the most awesome burdens borne by any leader -- the spiritual care of more than one billion people.
"It is the seat of power of one of the most continually running organizations on the planet. Once the fulcrum of power, it wields it yet. It is where saints are proclaimed and where popes reign, where much of western history can find its source.
"It is a divinely inspired, human invention known as the Vatican."
(According this site, "Vatican", by the way, means "prophetic hill or mountain" while "Citta Del Vaticano" means "City of Prophecy".)
The Mountain of the Lord
2005-04-08 08:27 PM (Backdated)
Watched the first hour of the pope's requiem mass on BBC earlier. The readings were Acts 10:31-43, Psalm 23 and John 21:15-19. How apt! Thinking about these now reminds me of Isaiah's prophecy that all nations will come to God's holy mountain to learn how to walk in His ways!
World's biggest gathering of leaders and royalty
by Stephen McGinty, Fri 8 Apr 2005.
"TODAY¡¯S funeral of Pope John Paul II will draw the biggest gathering of the powerful and the humble in modern times.
"Four kings, five queens, at least 70 presidents and prime ministers and more than 14 leaders of other religions will attend, alongside what the Vatican expects will be two million of the faithful.
"George Bush will be the first sitting president of the United States to attend a papal funeral, while the Prince of Wales leads the British delegation. Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, and representatives of more than 80 countries will also attend. Jewish and Muslim religious leaders will be there, along with Israel¡¯s foreign minister and the head of the Arab League."
JPII's Last Words in Polish:
Interesting. Now news agencies are announcing that Vatican has released lots more details on Pope JPII's last hours -- over 200 pages of them.
Sounds like they could be preparing documentation to make a case for his sainthood.
The Pope's last public appearance was on March 30. According to MSNBC.com, Reuters News reported, "The volume is particularly graphic in its description of John Paul's final three days of life, starting on March 31. It tells how the ailing Pope, who suffered from Parkinson's disease for the last 10 years of this life, was attending Mass in his chapel when he felt a "sudden chill and violent shaking." His temperature quickly rose to nearly 40 degrees. He suffered septic shock caused by an infection of the urinary tract and cardio-circulatory collapse...
"Still, on April 1, the day before he died, the Pope was "conscious and serene" at a 6 a.m. Mass in his bedroom. He started slipping in and out of consciousness at about 7:30 of the morning of the day he died. He muttered his last comprehensible words at 3:30 p.m. ("Let met go to the house of the Father"), entered a coma at 7 p.m. and died at 9:37 p.m."