Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bigger than the Royal Wedding

I don't mean to rain on the Royal Wedding celebration, I wish the couple every happiness in their wedded life, and hope the Brits have a wonderful celebration. I look back on my days living in Highbury, London with great affection. It was just this time of year when I reluctantly left Britain for the Continent. I've been back twice since, once taking a course at the University of London, and spending a delightful weekend at Oxford, city of dreaming spires. But I just can't help comparing as we Catholics have an even bigger event this weekend, and I am waiting with just as eager anticipation as I see on the news about the wedding.

Servant of God, Pope John Paul II will be beatified in Rome on Sunday. A human being has overcome tragedy and oppression, and reached extraordinary heights of holiness, touching the lives of millions, transforming the Culture of Death by planting seeds of the New Springtime of Evangelization. He has become the role model for millions of zealous young religious, and generously sized families often have a son bearing his name. Universities and schools are already named after him. His Theology of the Body is enthusiastically studied by scholars and the faithful alike.  John Paul rewrote the map of Europe, overcoming forty years of Communist dictatorship with prayer and encouragement of his people. His intercessory prayers healed a nun of Parkinson's Disease from which he heroically suffered.
Now he is to be raised to the altar with the feast day October 22. That's something to celebrate! The population of Rome has already doubled, swelling with pilgrims who are there for the occasion. I was just invited to join them but, alas, finances will not permit me. I will be there in spirit, however, celebrating with my family in a Beatification Party; Polish food while watching the big event on the TV. My portrait of John Paul will be festooned with bunting and spring flowers, and we will conclude our Divine Mercy Novena as we toast our new Blessed John Paul II.

Before I was a blogger, I used to write articles and poetry when I was inspired by something great. In 1979 I saw the young Pope John Paul in Madison Square Garden and wrote this poem, which won second place in the New York State Catholic Daughters' Poetry Contest. It helped me think that I might have a career in journalism.

The Pilgrim Pope
From Ireland's Emerald Hills,
To American's Freedom Shore,
Another humble pilgrim,
Comes 'cross the sea once more.

But this traveler is diff'rent,
Though, in looks, like all the rest,
His path is set by Christ,
Which makes his coming blest.

He comes in peace to spread,
The gentle Gospel Word,
So, open wide your hearts,
And let his voice be heard.

And then, in 1995 as a young mother I wrote this piece after attending the Mass at Aqueduct Racetrack in New York City with my two year old daughter. It aws published in Queen of All Hearts, a Monfort publication. Today is the feast day of St Louis de Monfort, whose Marian Consecration both Pope John Paul and I have made.

When John Paul died, I was so moved I wrote this piece which was published in the National Catholic Reporter and Faith and Family magazine simultaneously.
Soon, I began to get the idea that I was being called to write as my small part of the New Evangelization, and in 2006, this blog became the vehicle to launch a writing career. Next month, I will be publishing my first book, "A Special Mother is Born".  We've both come a long way, Karol Wojtyla and I .
Blessed Pope John Paul, thank you for the hope you gave me, and for inspiring me to become a part of the New Springtime of Evangelization.

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