Looking back — and looking forward — at John Paul II

(CNS/Joe Rimkus Jr.)

Today is the sixth anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II. Remarkably, he will be beatified in less than a month, one of the fastest — if not the fastest — intervals between death and beatification for anyone, let alone for modern popes.

To relive the life of Karol Wojtyla and his impact on the world, especially as you prepare spiritually for the May 1 beatification, read our comprehensive obituary of Pope John Paul, written by our Rome bureau chief, John Thavis. Thavis also wrote a personal reflection on the late pope and what it was like to cover him, beginning with the day a Polish cardinal surprised the world and walked onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica as the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.

For more on his remarkable papacy, visit the special section we prepared and posted on the day six years ago when Pope John Paul died. (And don’t miss our look at the top conclave cardinals of 2005, including a profile of the man who was elected.)

4 Responses

  1. Pope John Paul II’s death was on First Saturday and also after the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday. Only this Pope could be such in the Will of God to die on both of those special days, with Our Blessed Mother on one arm and the Lord and St. Faustina on the other. We were praying and praying for him. What a wonderful day to die, and St. Faustina’s predictions from the Lord came true. Divine Mercy was shown all over the world!!!!

  2. I remember watching and praying for him and when he passed I went to Mass expecting a special Mass for him. Instead to my disappointment it was just like any other Mass with the exception of the priest saying ” Oh yeah for the passing of ……” like an after thought. I was truly amazed.

  3. Hard to believe it’s 6 years ago, seems almost like yesterday, what a sad day it was. Now we look forward with joy to 1st May for a truly great moment for the Universal Church.

  4. I would like to draw UK readers’ attention to a play we are putting on at the Catholic Chaplaincy in Oxford, in honour of Blessed John Paul II, in the week before his beatification. THE QUALITY OF MERCY will have three performances at 8pm on the 27th, 28th and 29th April 2011. It is particularly suitable for older teenagers and young adults, as it deals with the particular pastoral charism of Karol Wojtyla for the problems faced by the young in the increasingly secularised societies of the West. Music is by the talented young composer Ben Nichols, using the english language speeches of JPII at world youth days etc. Further information at secondspring.co.uk. Tickets available from oxfordplayhouse.com.

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