05/18/2020, 10.28
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Pope: John Paul II, a man of prayer, proximity and justice

Francis celebrates mass in the chapel of St. Peter's Basilica where Pope Wojtyla's tomb is on the 100th anniversary of his birth (May 18, 1920). "Let us pray to him today that he give us all, especially the pastors of the Church to all, the grace of prayer, the grace of proximity and the grace of justice-mercy, mercy-justice".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - John Paul II was a man of prayer, of closeness, of justice. Pope Francis said it today in the homily of the mass he celebrated in the chapel of St. Peter's Basilica where Pope Wojtyla's tomb is on the 100th anniversary of his birth (May 18, 1920).

Francis indicated three "traces" of the good shepherd that are in Saint John Paul II: "prayer, proximity to the people, and love for justice. St. John Paul II was a man of God because he prayed and prayed a lot ”despite the hard work he had to guide the Church."

He knew well that the first task of a bishop is to pray" and "he knew it, he did it. [He was the ] model of bishop who prays, the first task. And he taught us that when a bishop carries out an examination of conscience in the evening he must ask himself: how many hours have I prayed today? [He was a ] man of prayer".

“Secondly, he was a man of proximity. He was not detached from the people, on the contrary he went out to find the people and traveled the whole world, finding his people, looking for his people, getting close. And closeness is one of the traits of God with His people. Remember what the Lord says to the people of Israel: 'Look, what people have had their gods as close as I am to you?' A closeness of God to the people which then is becomes even closer in Jesus, becomes stronger in Jesus. A shepherd who is not close to his people, is not a shepherd, he is a hierarch, he is an administrator, perhaps good but not a shepherd. Proximity to the people. And Saint John Paul II gave us the example of this closeness: he made himself close to elderly and the little ones, to the near and far, always close. "

"Thirdly, love for justice. But full justice! A man who wanted justice, social justice, justice of peoples, justice that drives wars away. But full justice! This is why Saint John Paul II was the man of mercy because justice and mercy go together, they cannot be distinguished, they go together: justice is justice, mercy is mercy, but one is not found without the other. And speaking of the man of justice and mercy, let us think of what St. John Paul II did to make people understand the mercy of God. Let us think of his devotion to St. Faustina ", whose liturgical memory is now extended to the whole the church. “He felt that God's justice bore a face of mercy, an attitude of mercy. He left us this gift : justice-mercy and right mercy ”.

"Let us pray today that he give us all, especially the pastors of the Church but to all, the grace of prayer, the grace of closeness and the grace of justice-mercy, mercy-justice".

At the end of the Mass, Francis prayed to God to stir up in us "the flame of charity which incessantly fed the life of Saint John Paul II" and "pushed him to consume himself" for the Church.

Among the concelebrants, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, vicar general of the Pope for Vatican City and archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, Polish cardinal Konrad Krajewski, apostolic almsgiver, Msgr. Piero Marini, master of liturgical celebrations for 18 years during the pontificate of John Paul II, and Polish archbishop Jan Romeo Pawłowski, head of the third section of the Secretariat of State which deals with the diplomatic staff of the Holy See.

Today was the last of the morning masses celebrated in live streaming by Francis from 9 March following the suspension of the celebrations with the participation of the people due to the pandemic.

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