“St. John Paul II has enriched the universal Church with a great abundance of gifts.”
Pope Francis expressed this before this morning’s General Audience when receiving in the Vatican a delegation from the Archdiocese of the Polish city of Krakow, in Rome on pilgrimage.
In his address, the Pope recalled that this month marks the 40th Anniversary of Karol Wojtyla’s election as pontiff, and the indelible mark he has left on the Church.
“St. John Paul II has enriched the universal Church with a great abundance of gifts, which in large part has been inherited from the treasure of faith and holiness of your land and of your Church,” Pope Francis underscored, reminding he brought “in his heart and, so to speak, in the flesh” the testimonies of the saints of Krakow: from San Stanislao and Santa Edvige Regina, to Sant’Alberto and Santa Faustina.
From them, the Holy Father observed, Wojtyla learned the boundless dedication to God and the great sensitivity for every man; dedication and sensitivity manifested in his priestly, episcopal and papal ministry.
“He received from God the great gift of being able to read the signs of the times in the light of the Gospel, and he made it profitable for the benefit of the journey of his people, of your people.”
“Faithful to these roots,” Francis continued, St Pope John Paul II “tried to make the Church stand as a guardian of the inalienable rights of man, of the family and of peoples, to be a sign of peace, justice and integral development for the entire human family.” At the same time, the Holy Father noted, the Polish Pope always emphasized “the priority of grace and obedience to the will of God, before any human calculation.”
“This rich heritage, which Saint John Paul II has left us, is for us – and especially for our compatriots – a challenge to be faithful to Christ and to respond with joyful dedication to the call to holiness, which the Lord addresses to each and each of us, in our specific personal, family and social situation.”
Saint John Paul II, Pope Francis reminded, does not stop watching over the Church in Krakow and accompanies the journey of its faithful from heaven.
Pope Francis concluded, offering his blessing, entrusting them to Pope St. John Paul II’s intercession, telling those present to convey to pray for him and inviting them to pray a Hail Mary.
Here is a ZENIT translation of his address to those present:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Welcome! And thank you for your warm affection! I thank Archbishop Marek for his kind words and I greet fraternally the Cardinals and Bishops present.
You have come as representatives of the Holy Church of God that is in Krakow, which received me with open arms in the summer of 2016. You have come together with your Pastors and consecrated persons, to thank God for the life and pontificate of Saint John Paul II, in the forthcoming 40th anniversary of his election to the See of Peter. I greet you all warmly, particularly the poor, the sick and the numerous young people taking part in the pilgrimage.
Saint John Paul II enriched the universal Church with a great abundance of gifts, which to a great extent he inherited from the treasure of faith and holiness of your land and of your Church. He bore in his heart and, so to speak, in his flesh the testimonies of the Saints of Krakow: of Saint Stanislaw and Saint Hedwig Queen, of Saint Albert and Saint Faustina. From them he learned boundless dedication to Christ and great sensitivity for every man — dedication and sensitivity that were manifested in his priestly, episcopal and papal ministry. He received from God the great gift of being able to read the signs of the times in light of the Gospel, and he made it yield to the benefit of the journey of his people, of your people, which in the different painful events never lost trust in God and fidelity to its culture, rooted in the Christian spirit.
Faithful to these roots, he sought to have the Church stand as custodian of the inalienable rights of man, of the family and of peoples, to be sign of peace, of justice and of integral development for the entire human family. At the same time, he always stressed the priority of the grace and of obedience to the will of God, before any human calculation. This rich inheritance, which Saint John Paul II has left us, is for us — and in a special way for his compatriots — a challenge to be faithful to Christ and to respond with joyful dedication to the call to holiness, which the Lord addresses to each one of us, in our specific personal, family and social situation.
Dear brothers and sisters, Saint John Paul II doesn’t cease to watch over the Church that is in Krakow, which he so loved! He accompanies your path from Heaven: the families, the young people and the grandparents, the priests, the women religious and all the consecrated, the most disadvantaged <and> the suffering. I also entrust myself with you to his intercession. I thank you for your visit and I bless you all and the entire diocesan Community of Krakow. Please, don’t forget to pray for me.
[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]