Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 9, 2007
In Ottawa, JP2's death remembered as well
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Canada's national capital marked the second anniversary of Pope John Paul II's death at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica April 1 with a memorial concert, readings from the late pope's writings and a minute of silent prayer.
Sponsored jointly by the Polish embassy and the apostolic nunciature, the concert featured the String Quartet Con Brio of Montreal, playing works by Schubert, Chopin, Bach, Szymanowski and Haydn's The Seven Last Words of Christ.
Polish Ambassador H.E. Piotr Ogrodzinski recalled the image of John Paul's coffin with "the Gospel open, the wind was shuffling its pages."
"This book is in our hearts and I think that it is open," he said.
Ogrodzinski said Poles were so proud when the conclave elected the Polish pope almost 30 years ago in a "decision so surprising" that there must have been some "extraordinary meaning" with major consequences.
He said he didn't think the members of the conclave understood "how big the consequences will be."
When the pope made his first visit to Poland and stood in Victory Square and called for freedom, the first "historical miracle" followed soon after: the establishment of the independent trade union Solidarity, "10 million strong in a communist state," Ogrodzinski said.
Though "eight difficult years" lay ahead, Pope John Paul "was the real hope." That hope led to the "crumbling of the communist system," and Poland's becoming a sovereign democratic state.
Ogrodzinski recalled John Paul's message: "Do not be afraid," noting he "sent this message to all human beings." The late pope also recognized "the seed of goodness present in everyone," and "defied false ideologies."
John Paul "delivered the message to not be afraid to the last moment of his life," he said.
The concert paused at 9:37 p.m. - the hour of the pope's death on April 2, 2005 - for the lighting of candles in front of his portrait. Then the hundreds of people in attendance stood for a minute of silent prayer.