Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 11, 2005
We pray for the repose of John Paul's soul . . .
Following is a letter by Archbishop Thomas Collins read in churches across the archdiocese following the death of Pope John Paul II.
April 2, 2005Pope John Paul the Great has died, and all of us in the family of the Church mourn the death of our Holy Father, strengthened by the hope of the resurrection which, especially at this time of year, is at the centre of our thoughts. Throughout his life, and especially in the sufferings of his final years, Pope John Paul taught us by his example how to walk in the footsteps of Christ, even in the face of suffering and physical frailty. He showed us what it means for a disciple of Jesus to give and not to count the cost. Our Lord said to Peter after the Resurrection: "Feed my lambs, tend my sheep" (John 21:15-17). Pope John Paul faithfully fulfilled that same mandate, which he himself received many years ago when he became successor of St. Peter and Vicar of Christ on earth. He gave true spiritual nourishment to us all, especially through his teaching ministry, as he selflessly served the servants of God. In a world so often caught in the grip of the culture of death, he made clear the Gospel of Life. He proclaimed the sanctity of the family, and called out for justice in this world. He taught the Gospel of Jesus with absolute integrity, and that won the respect even of those who did not share his faith. When a deacon is ordained, the bishop says to him: "Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are: believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practise what you teach." That message speaks to all of us, and Pope John Paul by his personal example showed us all how to be faithful to it, how to live our Christian faith with integrity. Three scriptural passages were chosen by Pope John Paul at key moments in his pontificate. At the start, he reminded us of the words of Jesus: "Be not afraid" (Matthew 14:27). At the time of the new millennium he reminded us of what Jesus told the disciples: "Put out into the deep" (Luke 5:4). And near the end of his life he entitled his book recalling his ministry as bishop: "Rise, let us be on our way" (John 14:31). In each of these quotations he emphasized the apostolic action that is guided by faith and energized by joyful hope, in the midst of the storm of life. He was a man of deep contemplative prayer, whose apostolic action always arose out of adoration. He urged us to call out to Jesus with the words of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, "Stay with us, Lord," and to do so especially through the celebration of the Eucharist, and through the gift of time in adoration of Our Eucharistic Lord. In this he taught us as well. We need not fear the storms we face, for Christ is with us in the boat. We pray for the repose of the soul of Pope John Paul, and we recall the words of the hymn for his last World Youth Day, in Toronto in 2002, taken from the opening lines of the First Letter of St. John, expressing the love of Jesus which was the key to the life of Pope John Paul, and is for us as well: The One that we have seen with our own eyes,
The One that we have touched and felt with our own hands
The One that we have heard with our own ears
The One that in the depths of our hearts we have met.
He is the one who we proclaim to you
His splendour is on all, for he shines upon the world. So many in our world drift into sleep,
While others only know a darkness without end.
Let brothers rise to call them from the deep!
Let sisters take their hands,
To heal and be their friends.
Together let us stand against the storm,
And in the heart of night be the watchers of the morn.
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