"The Moment Is Approaching When I Will Stand Before God," Pope Says

VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2003 (ZENIT.org).- In a moment of spontaneity, John Paul II told some 20,000 Polish pilgrims that he prepares daily for the moment he will stand before God after his death.

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«I am ever more conscious that the moment is approaching when I will stand before God with my whole life, from my youth in Wadowice, later in Krakow, and finally in Rome,» the Pope said spontaneously.

«I trust in divine mercy and in the protection of the Holy Virgin,» he added in Polish in St. Peter’s Square.

The Polish pilgrims were in Rome to participate last Sunday in the canonization of two of their fellow countrymen, Bishop Joseph Sebastian Pelczar (1842-1924), founder of the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Ursula Ledochowska (1865-1939), founder of the Ursuline Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Agony.

After the canonization ceremony, the Pope said publicly: «grateful for the gift of life, today I again entrust to the Virgin my life and the ministry that Providence has called me to fulfill.»

Among those present at Monday’s audience was Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski, who was received in a private audience by the Pope, during which they spoke about Europe and the situation in the Eastern European countries.

After their meeting, Kwasniewski said that he found the Pope «very well» and that they talked about his forthcoming trips to Croatia and Mongolia. The Polish president said he was at the service of the Pope to facilitate a stopover in Kazan, Russia, a plan rejected by the Moscow Patriarchate.

The Polish delegation invited the Holy Father several times to make another apostolic trip to Poland.

Prior to his meeting with John Paul II, President Kwasniewski noted that «without the Pope, freedom would not have been possible in Poland.»

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