Blessed John Paul II Still Evangelizing

Vatican Spokesman Reflects on Beatification

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 8, 2011 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II’s beatification was a “powerful return” of the Polish Pontiff, who is continuing his work of evangelization from heaven, according to a Vatican spokesman.

This was the evaluation given by Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, in regard to the May 1 beatification of John Paul II. 

The spokesman spoke of the event — which brought 1.5 million people to Rome and was broadcast around the world — on the most recent edition of Vatican Television’s “Octava Dies.”

Father Lombardi recounted what the Pope’s longtime secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, shared at the April 30 vigil: “When I saw the coffin holding his body being raised up from the open tomb,” the cardinal said, “I thought: Here he is, coming back to us!”

Father Lombardi said Cardinal Dziwisz thus “expressed the feelings that flooded the hearts of those who were present in that moment, and also of those who wanted to file once again past the remains of the new Blessed, in the center of the basilica, near Peter’s tomb, as they did in the days after his death.”

“Of course, for the believer,” the spokesman continued, “John Paul II had always been alive and present, but it cannot be denied that the days of his beatification have represented a powerful return for him among the people of God in prayer and celebration.”

Father Lombardi called them “days of grace” and spoke of the “meaning and importance of every beatification but in particular, of this one, in the life of the Catholic Church.”

The Jesuit reflected on the living legacy of John Paul II in the lives of the faithful.

“Among the innumerable people who had waited from the previous night, waiting to get into St. Peter’s Square,” he said, “there were many young families, with children born in the last decade, children who certainly didn’t know Pope John Paul II, but who are heirs of the generation of ‘his’ young people.

“John Paul II knew he had the mission of taking the Church into the third millennium, and at the end of the Great Jubilee he said to us, he said to all of God’s people: ‘Duc in altum! Put out into the deep!'”

Father Lombardi affirmed that the Church does go “into the deep sea of the third millennium but knows it can continue to count on the support of an effective intercessor who invites us not to be afraid.”

He concluded by echoing the prayer Benedict XVI addressed to his predecessor at the beatification: “Continue, we implore you, to sustain from heaven the faith of God’s people. You often blessed us. Today we pray: Holy Father, bless us!”

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