Be Not Afraid: The Memorial Feast of Blessed John Paul II Reignites the Cry of the Faithful, Santo Subito!
The Memorial Feast of Blessed John Paul II Celebrated in the United States of America Reignites the Cry of the Faithful, Santo Subito!
There is no doubt that soon we will affirm what the multiplying miracles attributed to his continued intercession confirm and his extraordinary witness in life and death demonstrated, Blessed John Paul II is a Saint. Be Not Afraid!
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - On October 22, 2012 the Catholic Church in the United States commemorates the first Memorial Feast of Blessed John Paul II. At the request of our Bishops, the Congregation for Divine Worship and Pope Benedict XVI approved the insertion of the optional memorial of Blessed John Paul II in the liturgical calendar of the dioceses of the United States.
The priest presiding at Holy Mass prays during the Collect at our Liturgy, this prayer "O God, who are rich in mercy and who willed that the blessed John Paul the Second should preside as Pope over your universal Church, grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching, we may open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ, the sole Redeemer of mankind."
This date was chosen to memorialize Pope John Paul's inauguration as Pope, the successor of the Apostle Peter, on October 22, 1978. I vividly remember that day, when a young, vibrant Polish Pope stepped out on to the balcony in St. Peters Square and signaled his mission:
"Be Not Afraid! Open up, no; swing wide the gates to Christ. Open up to his saving power the confines of the State, open up economic and political systems, the vast empires of culture, civilization and development. Be not afraid!" That homily is included in the Office of Readings for this new memorail, in the Liturgy of the Hours, or breviary.
In announcing the decree establishing the Feast the Congregation proclaimed, "An exceptional character, recognized by the Catholic Church spread throughout the world, marks the beatification of Venerable John Paul II, of happy memory, which will take place May 1, 2011, in the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome, presided over by the Holy Father Benedict XVI. Given this extraordinariness, and following numerous requests regarding the cult of the new blessed, according to the places and forms established by law, this Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments is communicating in a timely manner what has been decided in this respect."
Along with Bishops conferences throughout the world, the Bishops of the United States sought approval to celebrate this Feast and it was granted. That request clearly reflected the sense of the faithful throughout the whole world.
Blessed John Paul's magisterium (teaching office) set a framework for what has become under his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, a new missionary age of the Catholic Church throughout the entire world. His teaching is helping to bring about an authentic renewal of the whole Catholic Church as it continues to be properly interpreted in the hermeneutic of continuity under the wonderful leadership of his friend and successor Pope Benedict XVI and worked as leaven into the life, ministry and work of the Church in the Third Millennium.
I was privileged to assist in writing a tribute to this marvelous Pope who took the names of his predecessors, to show his own commitment to such continuity. It is offered here on Catholic Online. From the moment he stepped out on that balcony, he demonstrated a courageous and heroic faith which did not fear the world but entered into it to continue the loving work of the Savior who came to redeem and transform it from within.
Blessed John Paul II reasserted the Catholic vision that part of the vital mission of the Church is to engage and transform all of human culture, including the arts, politics, the academy, and economic and political realm - because no area of human experience is off-limits to the influence of the Gospel and the Church.
Blessed John Paul II called all men and women to the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. He reminded us all that only in Jesus Christ can we discover the purpose and fulfillment of human life. He proclaimed that human existence itself is an invitation to communion with God and with one another.
He told an age bent of "self fulfillment" that true human fulfillment only comes from giving ourselves in love to God and to one another. He called us to live a unity of life, wherein the implications of the Christian faith inform the entirety of life with no contradiction or separation.
He confronted, exposed and opposed the "culture of death", wherein the human person is treated as an instrument to be used rather than an unrepeatable gift to be received. He proposed a different way, building a new "culture of life" where every human person, at every age and stage, is recognized as having an inviolable dignity and right to life, freedom and love.
He charted a path to peace and solidarity, proclaiming to all the nations that we are all our brothers' keeper and that we owe an obligation in solidarity to one another and, most especially, to the poor in all of their manifestations. He wrote of authentic freedom as a freedom "for" and not just a freedom "from", a freedom that must be bounded by truth ...
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