St. John Paul II

Friends in Christ, today is the Feast of St. John Paul II. Here is a new saint with whom we can all identify, because so much of our own faith life has been influenced by this giant of a saint.
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When Pope John Paul II was elected in 1978, the first thing he said to the world was: ‘Be not afraid,’ quoting Jesus. John Paul was the first Pope to really travel to so many countries, to visit the world-wide Church.
He reached out to the youth; when World Youth Day was proposed for Denver, most “experts” said that it would be a flop – ‘What young person cares about the Pope?’ ‘Hardly any one will come,’ they said. But come they did. It was a marvelous, smashing success, and World Youth days continue.
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But John Paul was known for something else as well: his beautiful and wonderful teachings on Christian sexuality, on the family, and his Theology of the Body, which is helping many young couples to better appreciate the complimentarity of the sexes and the beauty of marital love.
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On May 13, 1981, an assassination attempt was made on his life; Ali Agca was a professional assassin, he had aimed at close range, and he had aimed well. But somehow, the bullets missed lethal targets; he fired four shots with a 9mm Hi-Power semi-automatic, critically wounding the Pope. Four bullets hit John Paul, two of them lodging in his intestine.
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A bullet missed his central aorta by a few millimetres — had it not missed this, he would have been killed instantly. The Pope, who lost nearly three-quarters of his blood had five hours of emergency surgery at the hospital.
This all happened on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, and so he would always say that Mary saved him.
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He visited Ali Agca, his would-be killer in jail, and there he heard from this half-shaven prisoner a surprising question: ‘Why aren’t you dead?’ ‘I know that my aim was true.” The Pope responded: “One hand fired the shot, but another guided it,’ he was speaking of the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Fatima.
Ali Agca expressed some fears that this Lady might come after him next, but the pope told him ‘no,’ she is not like that, and in fact he himself had come to forgive. Ali Agca did not ask for forgiveness, but the Pope showed us that we must forgive enemies even when they do not ask for it.
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St. John Paul II who is in heaven with God, pray for us who are here below on earth.

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