On Anniversary of John Paul II's Election

“A Pope Totally Consecrated to Jesus Through Mary”

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 16, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today to the crowds that gathered for the praying of the midday Angelus, in St. Peter’s Square.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Twenty-seven years ago, on a day like today, the Lord called Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, archbishop of Krakow, to succeed John Paul I, deceased shortly after a month from his election. With John Paul II began one of the longest pontificates in the history of the Church, during which a Pope, “who came from a distant country,” was recognized as a moral authority, including by many non-Christian and non-believing persons, as was demonstrated by the moving manifestations of affection because of his illness, and of profound sympathy after his death.

Before his tomb, in the Vatican grottoes, the pilgrimage of many faithful still continues without interruption, and this constitutes an eloquent sign of how our beloved John Paul II has entered people’s hearts, above all because of his testimony of love and surrender in suffering. In him we have been able to admire the strength of faith and prayer, and the way in which he entrusted himself totally to Mary Most Holy, who always accompanied and protected him, especially in the most difficult and dramatic moments of his life.

We might describe John Paul II as a Pope totally consecrated to Jesus through Mary, as his motto clearly manifested: “Totus tuus.” He was elected in the heart of the month of the rosary, and the rosary, which he often had between his hands, became one of the symbols of his pontificate, watched over by the Immaculate Virgin with maternal solicitude. Through radio and television, the faithful worldwide were able to join him on numerous occasions in this Marian prayer and, thanks to his example and teachings, rediscover its authentic meaning, contemplative and Christological (cf. apostolic letter “Rosarium Virginis Mariae,” Nos. 9-17).

In fact, the rosary is not opposed to meditation of the Word of God and to liturgical prayer; moreover, it is a natural and ideal complement, in particular as preparation and thanksgiving for the Eucharistic celebration. We contemplate Christ encountered in the Gospel and in the sacraments in the different moments of his life, thanks to the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries.

In the school of Mary we thus learn to conform ourselves to her divine Son and to proclaim him with our life itself. If the Eucharist is for the Christian the center of the day, the rosary contributes in a privileged way to prolong communion with Christ, and it educates us to live keeping our hearts’ gaze fixed on him to radiate on everyone and everything his merciful love.

Contemplative and missionary: so was our beloved Pope John Paul II. He was this way thanks to his profound union with God, nourished daily by the Eucharist and prolonged moments of prayer.

At the time of the Angelus, so loved by him, it is a delight and a duty to remember him on this anniversary, renewing our thanksgiving to God for having given the Church and the world a successor so worthy of the Apostle Peter. May the Virgin Mary help us to make a treasure of his precious legacy.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in several languages. Here are some of his greetings:]

[In French]

Tomorrow the World Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty will be observed. Poverty is a scourge against which humanity must struggle ceaselessly. We are called to an ever greater solidarity so that no one will be excluded from society. My prayer extends to the poor who struggle with courage to live in dignity, with concern for their family and the needs of their brothers. I greet all those who are at the service of needy people, and I invite the civil authorities and leaders to listen to the cry of the poor and to intensify their actions in the struggle against poverty.

[In English]

I warmly welcome the English-speaking visitors present at this Angelus. May Almighty God bless you and your families with joy and peace.

[In Polish]

I greet cordially all the Poles here present. Today we remember the election to the Chair of St. Peter of John Paul II, the first Polish Pope. In thanking God for his generous service to the Church and to all the human family, we renew our commitment to take up his teachings.

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