18 May 2020 – The Centenary of the Birth of St John Paul (1920-2005) – Pope Benedict XVI’s Letter

Pope Benedict XVI’s Letter Marking St John Paul II’s Birth Centenary

The English translation of this letter,
dated 4 May was released 15 May
by the Polish Bishops’ Conference.centenary of the birth of st john paul II 18 may 2020 no 2

“100 years ago, on 18 May, Pope John Paul II was born in the small Polish town of Wadowice.

After having been divided for over 100 years by three neighbouring major powers of Prussia, Russia, and Austria, Poland regained Her independence at the end of the First World War.   It was a historic event that gave birth to great hope but it also demanded much hardship as the new State, in the process of Her reorganisation, continued to feel the pressure of the two Powers of Germany and Russia.   In this situation of oppression, bu,t above all, in this situation marked by hope, young Karol Wojtyła grew up.   He lost his mother and his brother quite early and, in the end, his father as well, from whom he gained deep and warm piety.   The young Karol was particularly drawn by literature and theatre.   After passing his final secondary school exam, he chose to study these subjects.

“In order to avoid the deportation, in the fall of 1940 he went to work in a quarry of the Solvay chemical plant.”  (cf. Gift and Mystery).   “In the fall of 1942, he made the final decision to enter the Seminary of Kraków, which Kraków’s Archbishop Sapieha had secretly established in his residence.   As a factory worker, Karol already started studying theology in old textbooks; and so, on 1 November 1946, he could be ordained a priest.” (cf. Ibid.)   Of course, Karol not only studied theology in books but also through his experience of the difficult situation that he and his Country found itself in.   This is somewhat a characteristic of his whole life and work.   He studied books but the questions that they posed, became the reality that he profoundly experienced and lived. As a young Bishop — as an Auxiliary Bishop since 1958 and then Archbishop of Kraków from 1964 — the Second Vatican Council became the school of his entire life and work. The important questions that appeared, especially in connection with the so-called Schema 13 which would subsequently become the Constitution Gaudium et Spes, were questions that were also his own.   The answers developed by the Council would pave the way for his mission as Bishop and, later, as Pope.

When Cardinal Wojtyła was elected Successor of St Peter on 16 October 1978, the Church was in a dramatic situation.   The deliberations of the Council had been presented to the public as a dispute over the Faith itself, which seemed to deprive the Council of its infallible and unwavering sureness.   A Bavarian parish priest, for example, commented on the situation by saying, “In the end, we fell into the wrong faith.”   This feeling that nothing was no longer certain, that everything was questioned, was kindled even more by the method of implementation of liturgical reform.   In the end, it almost seemed that the liturgy could be created of itself.  St Paul VI brought the Council to an end with energy and determination but after its conclusion, he faced ever more pressing problems that ultimately questioned the existence of the Church Herself.   At that time, sociologists compared the Church’s situation to the situation of the Soviet Union under the rule of Gorbachev, during which the powerful structure of the Soviet State collapsed under the process of its reform.

Therefore, in essence, an almost impossible task was awaiting the new Pope.   Yet, from the first moment on, John Paul II aroused new enthusiasm for Christ and his Church.   His words from the sermon at the inauguration of his pontificate:  “Do not be afraid! Open, open wide the doors for Christ!”   This call and tone would characterise his entire pontificate and made him a liberating restorer of the Church.   This was conditioned by the fact that the new Pope came from a country where the Council’s reception had been positive – one of a joyful renewal of everything rather than an attitude of doubt and uncertainty in all.

The Pope travelled the world, having made 104 pastoral voyages, proclaiming the Gospel wherever he went as a message of joy, explaining in this way, the obligation to defend what is Good and to be for Christ.

In his 14 Encyclicals, he comprehensively presented the faith of the Church and its teaching in a human way.   By doing this, he inevitably sparked contradiction in Church of the West, clouded by doubt and uncertainty.

It seems important today to define the true centre, from the perspective of which we can read the message contained in the various texts.   We could have noticed it at the hour of his death.   Pope John Paul II died in the first moments of the newly established Feast of Divine Mercy.   Let me first add a brief personal remark that seems an important aspect of the Pope’s nature and work.   From the very beginning, John Paul II was deeply touched by the message of Faustina Kowalska, a nun from Kraków, who emphasised Divine Mercy as an essential centre of the Christian faith.   She had hoped for the establishment of such a feast day.   After consultation, the Pope chose the Second Sunday of Easter.   However, before the final decision was made, he asked the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to express its view on the appropriateness of this date.   We responded negatively because such an ancient, traditional and meaningful date like the Sunday “in Albis” concluding the Octave of Easter should not be burdened with modern ideas.   It was certainly not easy for the Holy Father to accept our reply.   Yet, he did so with great humility and accepted our negative response a second time.   Finally, he formulated a proposal that left the Second Sunday of Easter in its historical form but included Divine Mercy in its original message.   There have often been similar cases in which I was impressed by the humility of this great Pope, who abandoned ideas he cherished because he could not find the approval of the official organs that must be asked according established norms.

When John Paul II took his last breaths on this world, the prayer of the First Vespers of the Feast of Divine Mercy had just ended.   This illuminated the hour of his death, the light of God’s mercy stands as a comforting message over his death.   In his last book Memory and Identity, which was published on the eve of his death, the Pope once again summarised the message of Divine Mercy.   He pointed out that Sister Faustina died before the horrors of the Second World War but already gave the Lord’s answer to all this unbearable strife.   It was as if Christ wanted to say through Faustina:  “Evil will not get the final victory.   The mystery of Easter affirms that good will ultimately be victorious, that life will triumph over death and that love will overcome hatred”.

Throughout his life, the Pope sought to subjectively appropriate the objective centre of Christian faith, the doctrine of salvation and to help others to make it theirs.   Through the resurrected Christ, God’s mercy is intended for every individual.   Although this centre of Christian existence is given to us only in faith, it is also philosophically significant, because if God’s mercy were not a fact, then we would have to find our way in a world where the ultimate power of good against evil is not recognisable.   It is finally, beyond this objective historical significance, indispensable for everyone to know, that in the end God’s mercy is stronger than our weakness.   Moreover, at this point, the inner unity of the message of John Paul II and the basic intentions of Pope Francis can also be found – John Paul II is not the moral rigourist as some have partially portrayed him.   With the centrality of divine mercy, he gives us the opportunity to accept moral requirement for man, even if we can never fully meet it.   Besides, our moral endeavours are made in the light of divine mercy, which proves to be a force that heals for our weakness.

While Pope John Paul II was dying, St Peter’s Square was filled with people, especially many young people, who wanted to meet their Pope one last time.   I cannot forget the moment when Archbishop Sandri announced the message of the Pope’s departure. Above all, the moment when the great bell of St Peter’s took up this message remains unforgettable.   On the day of his funeral, there were many posters with the words “Santo subito!”   It was a cry that rose from the encounter with John Paul II from all sides. Not from the square but also in different intellectual circles the idea of giving John Paul II the title “the Great” was discussed.

The word “saint” indicates God’s sphere and the word “great” the human dimension. According to the Church’s standards, sanctity can be recognised by two criteria – heroic virtues and a miracle.   These two standards are closely related.   Since the word “heroic virtue” does not mean a kind of Olympic achievement but rather that something becomes visible in and through a person that is not his own but God’s work which becomes recognisable in and through him.   This is not a kind of moral competition but the result of renouncing one’s own greatness.   The point is, that a person lets God work on him and so God’s work and power become visible through him.

The same applies to the criterion of the miracle – here too, what counts is not that something sensational happening but the visible revelation of God’s healing goodness, which transcends all merely human possibilities.   A saint is the man who is open to God and permeated by God.   A holy man is the one who leads away from himself and lets us see and recognise God.   Checking this juridically, as far as possible, is the purpose of the two processes for Beatification and Canonisation.   In the case of John Paul II, both were carried out strictly according to the applicable rules.   So, now he stands before us as the Father, who makes God’s mercy and kindness visible to us.

It is more difficult to correctly define the term “great.”   In the course of the almost 2,000-year long history of the papacy, the title “the Great” has been maintained only for two popes:  Leo I (440 – 461) and Gregory I (590 – 604).   In the case of both, the word “great” has a political connotation but precisely because something of the mystery of God himself becomes visible through their political success.   Through dialogue, Leo the Great was able to convince Attila, the Prince of Huns, to spare Rome – the city of the Apostolic Princes Peter and Paul.   Without weapons, without military or political power, through the power of his conviction for his faith, he was able to convince the feared tyrant to spare Rome.   In the struggle between the spirit and power, the spirit proved stronger.

Gregory I’s success was not as spectacular but he was repeatedly able to protect Rome against the Lombard — here too, by opposing the spirit against power and winning the victory of the spirit.

If we compare both stories with that of John Paul II, the similarity is unmistakable.   John Paul II also had no military or political power.   During the discussion about the future shape of Europe and Germany in February 1945, it was said that the Pope’s reaction should also be taken into account.   Stalin then asked: “How many divisions does the Pope have?”   Well, he had no available division.   However, the power of faith turned out to be a force that finally unhinged the Soviet power system in 1989 and made a new beginning possible.   Undisputedly, the Pope’s faith was an essential element in the collapse of the powers.   And so, the greatness that appeared in Leo I and Gregory I is certainly also visible here.

Let us leave open the question of whether the epithet “the great” will prevail or not.   It is true that God’s power and goodness have become visible to all of us in John Paul II.   In a time when the Church is again suffering from the oppression of evil, he is for us a sign of hope and confidence.”

On the Anniversary of his Birth, we ask for his intercession.

Vatican Official Prayer to St John Paul II

Oh, St John Paul, from the window of heaven, grant us your blessing!
Bless the church that you loved and served and guided,
courageously leading it along the paths of the world,
in order to bring Jesus to everyone and everyone to Jesus.
Bless the young, who were your great passion.
Help them dream again, help them look up high again,
to find the light that illuminates the paths of life here on earth.
May you bless families, bless each family!
You warned of Satan’s assault against this precious
and indispensable divine spark that God lit on earth.
St John Paul, with your prayer, may you protect the family
and every life that blossoms from the family.
Pray for the whole world, which is still marked by tensions,
wars and injustice.
You tackled war by invoking dialogue and planting the seeds of love:
pray for us so that we may be tireless sowers of peace.
Oh St John Paul, from heaven’s window,
where we see you next to Mary,
send God’s blessing down upon us all.
Amenprayer-to-st-john-paul-birthday-today-18-may-20181 and 18 May 2020

St John Paul, Pray for Us!

ST john paul pray for us 18 may 2020 centenary of his birth


Thoughts of Mary – 18 May – Mother of God

Thoughts of Mary – 18 May – “Mary’s Month”

Mother of God
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)

“My thoughts turn once more the words of the humble daughter of Israel who still speaks for our own hearts and lips, words which we repeat with enthusiasm to the blessed Mother of Jesus, who is our own Mother too – “Beata, beata viscera Mariae Virginis quae portaverunt, AEtern Patris Fillium!” “O blessed indeed the womb that bore you!
And, I place my confident trust in the reply of Jesus, which is the renewed assurance for you, children of the Catholic Church, that we may find here below on earth, a a pledge of our eternal happiness in heaven, prosperity, joy and peace, in proportion to our unconquerable fidelity to the teaching of the divine Word, always better understood and better guarded:  “Blessed rather, are those who hear the word of God and keep it.”
O Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother too!
We hail you with this cry that all generations of men repeat, contemplating the mysteries of your life and the splendour of your Assumption.
Once more, we hail you as blessed, beata – intercede for us, O glorious Queen of the world and be ever mindful of us, particularly in the dangers and needs of this present hour!
O Jesus, Son of Mary, our Brother and our Saviour, by the mystery of the body and blood which you deigned to assume from the Virgin’s pure womb and which we today renew on our Altar, preserve for us, the gift of faith for the salvation of our souls, for the prosperity and greatness of our people and for the glory of Your name, which will be, at the same time, our glory and our joy, in this present life and in eternity, amen.”

once more we hail you as blessed beata mothr of god - st john XXIII 18 may 2020


Thought for the Day – 18 May – Mary, the Source of Peace

Thought for the Day – 18 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Mary, the Source of Peace

“Mary is surrounded by an atmosphere of peace.
The countenance of the Virgin Mother, reflects the serenity of her soul.
She was conceived free from original sin and endowed with every grace ad with every supernatural gift.
There was no struggle in her, between good and evil, for this conflict is the effect of concupiscence.
She never experienced the rule of sin of which St Paul complains. “I see another law in my members,” says St Paul, “warning against the law of my mind and making me prisoner to the law of sin that is in my members.   Unhappy man that I am!   Who will deliver me from the body of this death?   The grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 7:23-25).
It was quite otherwise with Mary.
Her lower inclinations were completely subject to her spiritual faculties, which were, in their turn, perfectly submissive to the commands and inspirations of God.
Nevertheless, while she enjoyed complete interior harmony, Mary had to endure external conflict and suffering.
Holy Simeon foretold, that the sword of sorrow would pierce her heart.
In fact, her life was altogether interwoven with hardship, want and suffering until, eventually, she knelt at the foot of the Cross on which Jesus was dying for the love of mankind and offered the divine Victim for our salvation.
At the last moment, however, torn with sorrow though she was, she did not depart in the slightest from her spirit of perfect acceptance of God’s will.
Consequently, her peace of soul was never diminished or extinguished.
Let us learn from her to accept everything from God’s hands, both the tiny pleasures which brighten our lives, from time to time and the humiliations, sufferings and death, which it pleases God to keep in store for us.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci


Quote/s of the Day – 18 May – The One Hundredth Anniversary of St Pope John Paul’s Birthday (1920-2005)

Quote/s of the Day – 18 May – “Mary’s Month” – Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter and the One Hundredth Anniversary of St Pope John Paul’s Birthday (1920-2005)

“The blessed martyrs cry to our hearts.
Believe in God who is love!
Believe in Him in good times and bad!
Awaken hope!
May it produce in you,
the fruit of fidelity to God,
in every trial!”

St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)
At the Beatification of the 108 Martyrs of World War Two in Poland, 13 June 1999

the-blessed-martyrs-cry-to-our-hearts-believe-in-god-who-is-love-st-john-paul-20-dec-2019 and 18 may 2020

“To die for the faith
is a gift to some,
to live the faith
is a call for all.”

to-die-for-the-faith-is-a-gift-to-some-to-live-the-faith-is-a-call-to-all-st-john-paul-28-sept-2019-and-20-oct-2019 and 18 may 2020

“Let the eyes of our faith
never wander
from the Cross of Calvary.” and 18 May 2020

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair.
We are the Easter people
is our song.”

do-not-abandon-yourselves-to-despair-we-are-the-easter-people-22-oct-2019-st-john-paul-the-great and 18 may 2020

as in the Rosary,
do the life of Jesus
and that of Mary,
appear so deeply joined.
Mary lives
only in Christ
for Christ!”

never-as-in-the-rosary-st-john-paul-no-15-rosarium-virginis-mariae-7-oct-2019-1 and 18 May 2020

Adoro te Devote, latens Deitas!
I Devoutly Adore You, hidden Deity
By St John Paul II (1920-2005)

We adore You, O wonderful Sacrament
of the presence of the One
who loved His own “to the end.”
We thank You, O Lord,
who edifies,
gathers together
and gives life to the Church.
O divine Eucharist, flame of Christ’s love
that burns on the altar of the world,
make the Church, comforted by You,
evermore caring, in wiping away,
the tears of the suffering
and in sustaining the efforts
of all who yearn for justice and peace.
And you, Mary, “Eucharistic” Woman
who offered your virginal womb
for the incarnation of the Word of God,
help us to live the Eucharistic Mystery
in the spirit of the “Magnificat.”
May our lives be a never-ending praise
of the Almighty who concealed Himself
beneath the humility of the Eucharistic signs.

Adoro te devote, latens Deitas. ..
Adoro te… adiuva me!

I Devoutly Adore You, hidden Deity
I Adore You, help me!

adoro-te-devote-latens-deitas-st-john-paul-27-oct-2019 and 18 May 2020

St Pope John Paul II (1920-1005)
Pray for Us!

st pope john paul pray for us 22 oct 2018


One Minute Reflection – 18 May – ‘…Our life in God.’

One Minute Reflection – 18 May – “Mary’s Month” – Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 16:11-15, Psalms 149:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 9, John 15:26–16:4

“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me” ... John 15:26

REFLECTION – “The Spirit promised by the prophets descended upon the Son of God made Son of man (Mt 3:16), accustoming Himself in this way, to dwell alongside Him within the human race, to rest over humankind and reside in God’s workmanship, working the Father’s will in them and renewing them, by causing them to pass from their old way of life to the newness of Christ.

This is the Spirit David requested for the human race, saying:  “And with your guiding Spirit, sustain me” (Ps 51[50]:14 LXX).   This is also the Spirit who, as Luke says, descended upon the disciples after the Ascension on the day of Pentecost, having power to give all nations entrance to life and to open up the New Covenant to them.   Stirred by one feeling, the disciples uttered the praises of God in every language while the Spirit gathered together into unity a dispersed peoples and offered the Father the first-fruits of all nations (Acts 2).

Therefore, the Lord promised to send the Comforter who would bind us to God.    For as a lump of dough and a single loaf cannot be formed of dry wheat without water, neither could we, being many, be made one in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 10:17) without the water come down from heaven.   And as dry earth does not bring forth fruit unless it receive moisture, so we also, who were, to begin with but dry wood, could never have brought forth fruit unto life without generous rain from above.   For our bodies have received the union that leads to incorruptibility by the washing of Baptism but our souls, by means of the Spirit.   That is why both are necessary, since both contribute towards our life in God.” … St Irenaeus (130-202) Bishop, Martyr, Theologian and Father of the Church – Against the heresies III, 17, 1-2john 15 26 when the advocate comes - therefore the lord promised to send the comforter - st ireneaus no 2 18 may 2020

PRAYER – Lord God, You sanctify Your Church in every race and nation by the joy of Your risen Son.   By His life, Death and Resurrection You grant us life and through Your Holy Spirit, You grant us the fruits of faithful love.  May we ever be graced by Your gift of faith and be led to our heavenly Home.   Through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary may we be strengthened for the journey.   We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.mother mary trusted guide pray for us 1 nov 2018


Our Morning Offering – 18 May – Virgin Full of Goodness, Mother of Mercy by St Thomas Aquinas

Our Morning Offering – 18 May – “Mary’s Month” Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Virgin Full of Goodness
Mother of Mercy
By St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
Doctor angelicus
Doctor communis

Virgin full of goodness,
Mother of mercy,
I entrust to you my body and my soul,
my thoughts and my actions,
my life and my death.
My Queen,
come to my aid
and deliver me from the snares of the devil.
Obtain for me the grace of loving
my Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
with a true and perfect love,
and after him,
O Mary,
of loving you with all my heart
and above all things.
Amenvirgin-full-of-goodness-mother-of-mercy-st-thomas-aquinas-15-jan-2019 and 17 may 2020

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 18 May – Saint Venantius of Camerino (Died c 250) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 18 May – Saint Venantius of Camerino (Died c 250) Martyr – born in c 235 and died by beheading in c 250 at Camerino, Italy.   St Venantius was a 15-year-old who was tortured and martyred by decapitation at Camerino during the persecutions of Decius.   Martyred with him were 10 other Christians, including the priest St Porphyrius, Venantius’ tutor and St Leontius, Bishop of Camerino.   Patronages – Camerino and Raiano.San_Venanzio_di_Camerino_A

St Venantius was born at Camerino in Italy and at the age of fifteen was seized as a Christian and carried before a judge.   As it was found impossible to shake his constancy either by threats or promises, he was condemned to be scourged but was miraculously saved by an angel.   He was then burnt with torches and hung over a low fire that he might be suffocated by the smoke.   The judge’s secretary, admiring the steadfastness of the Saint and seeing an angel robed in white, who trampled out the fire and again set free the youthful martyr, proclaimed his faith in Christ, was baptised with his whole family and shortly after won the martyr’s crown venantius sml

Venantius was then carried before the governor, who, unable to make him renounce his faith, cast him into prison with an apostate, who vainly strove to tempt him.   The governor then ordered his teeth and jaws to be broken and had him thrown into a furnace, from which the angel once more delivered him.   The Saint was again led before the judge, who at sight of him fell headlong from his seat and expired, crying, “The God of Venantius is the true God, let us destroy our idols.”   This circumstance being told to the governor, he ordered Venantius to be thrown to the lions but these brutes, forgetting their natural ferocity, crouched at the feet of the Saint.   Then, by order of the tyrant, the young martyr was dragged through a heap of brambles and thorns but again God manifested the glory of His servant the soldiers suffering from thirst, the Saint knelt on a rock and signed it with a cross, when immediately a jet of clear, cool water spurted up from the spot.

St Venantius is hung upside-down over a fire and then thrown to the lions.   Wall mural from St Venantius Church, Horgenzell.

St Venantius of Camerino by Scarsellino

st venantius maybe
St Venantius and the Lions

1280px-Pfärrenbach_Wandmalerei_Venantiuslegende_St Venatius
St Venantius is decapitated and then buried.

This miracle converted many of those who beheld it, whereupon the governor had Venantius and his converts beheaded together in the year 250.   The bodies of these Martyrs are kept in the church at Camerino which bears the Saint’s venantius

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorials of the Saints -18 May

St Pope John I (c 470 – 526) – He was Pope from 13 August 523 to his death in 526. (Optional Memorial)

Bl Burchard of Beinwil
St Dioscorus of Kynopolis
St Elgiva of Shaftesbury
St Eric of Sweden (c1120-1160)
St Felix of Cantalice OFM Cap (1515-1587)
About St Felix:

St Felix of Spoleto
St Feredarius of Iona
Bl Jan Oprzadek
St Merililaun
St Ortasio of Alexandria
St Potamon of Heraclea
St Serapione of Alexandria
Bl Stanislaw Kubski
St Venantius of Camerino (Died c 250) Martyr
Bl William of Toulouse OSA (c 1297-1369)
His life:

Martyrs of Ancyra – 8 saints: Seven nuns martyred in the persecutions of Diocletian and the innkeeper who was executed for giving them a Christian burial: Alexandria, Claudia, Euphrasia, Julitta, Matrona, Phaina, Thecusa and Theodatus. c.304 in Ancyra, Galatia (in modern Turkey)