3 Dimensions of the Papal Trip to Poland

As Seen by Vatican Radio Director

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 20, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II’s trip to Poland had three dimensions, related to his person, his pastoral mission in his country, and his universal ministry in the world, a Vatican aide says.

Father Pasquale Borgomeo, director general of Vatican Radio, accompanied the Pope on his eighth official visit to Poland from Aug. 16-19. The priest summed up the trip when he returned to Rome.

«The personal dimension was the most perceptible: Gestures and words of the Pope, even the highest and explicitly pastoral, manifested the feelings and emotions of a person who for millions and millions of men and women is close, known and loved,» Father Borgomeo said.

This explains «the hours of waiting that people endured to see him even if for only a moment,» the priest said. He cited as an example «when [the Pope] visited the house where he lived as a youth, or when he blessed the church of the Salesians, his teachers, many of them deported to concentration camps who then never returned.»

«All this was moving and made not only his compatriots reflect but, beyond Poland, the millions of people, whether or not faithful, of all parts of the world,» Father Borgomeo said.

«However, this pilgrimage was not a sentimental trip, because its message is far more profound and is addressed to the man of today in all latitudes,» the priest explained.

Among the papal events was the dedication of the new Shrine of Divine Mercy.

The proclamation of God’s love and mercy, Father Borgomeo said, is the answer «to the anxieties and aspirations» of the man and woman of today, and «points out the way in the midst of the dangers that threaten him.»

«The message of Divine Mercy — the theme of the pilgrimage — has universal value and, in John Paul II’s prophetic vision, assumes the providential character of response to expectations — including the unconscious — of a humanity that is so lost at the beginning of the third millennium,» the Vatican Radio director said.

Father Borgomeo concluded that this message «has become a dialogue at times explicit, the majority of times silent and uninterrupted, between the Pope and the people of his birthplace — three days that, despite the exhaustion, seemed very brief to the Pope. In fact, at the moment of farewell, he said with all sincerity: ‘I am sad to go.'»

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