Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Miraculous Pope

‘Miraculous’ recovery from ‘non-survivable’ gunshot wound could beatify Pope John Paul II

.- A man who suffered a "non-survivable" execution-style gunshot to the head during a mugging in Cleveland has had a "miraculous" recovery possibly due to the intercession of Pope John Paul II. If the late pontiff is credited for the miracle, it would lead to his beatification.

Jory Aebly, 26, suffered the gunshot would five weeks ago. Doctors at the Metro Health Medical Center declared it to be a "non-survivable" injury, ABC’s Good Morning America reports.

Hospital chaplain Fr. Art Nedeker administered Aebly with the Sacrament of the Sick, asking Pope John Paul II to pray for Jory and to protect him.

Fr. Nedeker explained that the Pope had promised him he would always pray for the patients at the hospital and blessed a dozen rosaries with special patients at the hospital.

The priest gave Aebly the last of the rosaries that had been blessed by the Pope, after which Aebly consistently improved.

He was released on Tuesday, two days before the fourth anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s death.

Dr. Robert Geertman, a neurosurgeon involved in Aebly's treatment, told Good Morning America his patient’s survival was "one in a million."

"My jaw was on the floor after a day or two of seeing he is hanging on. …I'd say it's pretty miraculous," he said at a press conference days after the shooting.

At the press conference announcing Aebly’s release, Fr. Snedeker said:

"I stand before you today and can say, to my mind, Jory is a miracle."

Aebly himself credited his recovery to "the many prayers from family, friends and co-workers" and others.

His mother Deb Wolfram told the press conference she believes in "the power of prayer" and said she believed people’s prayers helped her son through his ordeal, Good Morning America says.

A Vatican official reported that the investigation into the alleged miracle could take time.

"We cannot predict a precise schedule," Monsignor Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Caucus of Saints told ANSA. "All stages, including the examination of the miracle, have to be conducted in a particularly thorough way."

Approval of the miracle could lead to Pope John Paul II’s beatification, leaving one more miracle before he can be canonized.

The Sheperd's Staff

I became interested in Ven. Pope John Paul Magnus' staff after his death when I saw that Pope Benedict XVI used it and then changed it. I was born and lived seeing John Paul carrying only "his" staff. I didn't even know there were others that existed. I researched and found out that the one PJPII uses isn't actually originally his but was handed down to him.

Ven. Pope John Paul II Magnus with his Crozier

The crucifix used by the Holy Father is technically his crozier, the shepherd staff that is the most senior ecclesiastical insignia of the bishop and represents his pastoral authority. As bishops and the shepherds of the Universal Church, the popes have used the crozier, but ceased doing so in the 11th century. Traditionally, the crozier traces its origins back all the way to the Apostles, and it is known to have been used in the traditional form by bishops(with an ornamental crook) from the time of Pope Celestine I (r. 422-432).

Pope Paul VI instituted a change upon his election. Rather than use a traditional crozier – seen as a symbol of jurisdictional authority – the pontiff adopted what was termed a pastoral staff. The staff was designed by Italian artist Lello Scorzelli in the shape of a crucifix in the 1960s. The staff was retained by both Popes John Paul I and John Paul II. In 1990, a new, slightly re-designed staff was presented to the pontiff in honor of his birthday. It was made lighter for PJPII who was becoming frail.

In his early years PJPII used this
ancient triple cross staff on this special event:
opening the Holy Doors of the Lateran Basilica

The papal cross or ferula is an emblem of the papal court. As a material cross, it was carried before the Roman pontiff in processions or was used by him as his pastoral staff.

In the past, this design of the cross was often used in ecclesiastical heraldry, as a distinctive mark of his office. It has three horizontal bars near the top, in diminishing order of length as the top is approached. It is thus analogous to the two-barred cross used in heraldry to indicate an archbishop, and seems to have been used precisely to indicate an ecclesiastical rank still higher than that of archbishop.

Symbolism connected with the papal powers have been attached to the three crossbars, similar to the symbolism attached, with greater historical foundation, to the three bands on the papal tiara. The crossbars have also been said to represent the three crosses on Calvary.

At the start of his reign,
Pope Benedict still used the Scorzelli Staff

The three-barred Papal Cross shown on this page is used only for extraordinary ceremonial occasions, such as opening the Holy Door. And whilst the occasion might include some sort of procession, this cross is not strictly speaking a Processional Cross; rather, it is used as an archbishop would use his crozier1.

Like the Byzantine Cross, the bars symbolise the titulus at the top for the sign-board, patibulum in the middle for the victims arms, and suppedaneum beneath for the feet. They also correspond to several ecclesiological positions, including:

  • the Pope's triple roles as leader of worship, teacher and community leader
  • the Pope's triple religious authorities as Bishop of Rome, Patriarch of the West, and successor of St Peter, Chief of the Apostles
  • the Pope's powers and responsibilities: temporal, spiritual, and material
  • the Pope's extra bar of authority over the two-bar Archiepiscopal or Patriarchal cross

and tenets, such as:

  • the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love2
  • the Trinity

Another Crozier Pope Benedict used which I have yet to identify

On 16 March 2008, at the Palm Sunday celebrations in Saint Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI used the Papal Cross that had been previously used by Popes Pius IX and Pius XII. This cross was used until 28 November 2009. The replacement cross was a gift of the Circolo San Pietro (an organization founded in the 19th century to support the papacy) and, according to Msgr. Guido Marini, the Papal Master of Ceremonies, it "can be considered to all intents and purposes the pastoral staff of Benedict XVI."

Pope Benedict with the 19th Century Staff
used by Blessed Pope Pius IX and Pope Pius XII

From Various Web Sources

Monday, March 29, 2010

John Paul & Mother Teresa

"I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God
who is sending a love letter to the world.
--Mother Teresa

"It is not the magnitude of our actions but
the amount of love that is put into them that matters. "
--Mother Teresa

"Sweetest Lord, make me appreciative of the dignity
of my high vocation, and its many responsibilities.
Never permit me to disgrace it by giving way
to coldness, unkindness, or impatience.
--Mother Teresa

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Miracle Worker

Miracle Worker
Pope John Paul II on Fast Track to Sainthood

The Vatican could soon bestow sainthood upon Pope John Paul II. The late pontiff is believed to have had a hand in two divine interventions that led to the miraculous recoveries of terminally ill patients.

The Vatican is currently investigating claims made earlier this month that a man was miraculously cured of lung cancer doctors said was beyond remedy. The man's wife attributes the recovery to an intercession by Pope John Paul II, who died in April 2005.

The apparently wondrous healing of Nicola Grippa of Salerno, Italy is not the first posthumous miracle attributed to Karol Jozef Wojtyla, the former Polish pope. Following a second miracle assigned to the Pole earlier this year, the development could help to fast-track John Paul II's path to sainthood.

The Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints, casually known as the "saint factory," is also looking into claims that John Paul II interceded on behalf of a French nun who was incapacitated by Parkinson's disease. After members of her community prayed for the intercession of the deceased pope -- who during his lifetime had suffered from the same degenerative disease -- the elderly woman experienced a complete and lasting recovery.

Similarly, Grippa's wife Elisabeth says that after she prayed to Pope John Paul II on behalf of her ailing husband, Wojtyla "appeared to her in a dream, holding a small child in his hand and walking on a road of white cobblestones," Mr. Grippa told La Stampa newspaper. The 76-year-old man was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, and doctors told him the tumors, which had spread to his lungs, kidney and spine, were inoperable and would soon kill him.

Prodigious intervention

Archbishop Gerardo Pierro brought the case to the Vatican after he learned of the medically inexplicable recovery from doctors at San Leonardo Hospital in Salerno. "The recovery has lasted," he told Il Mattino newspaper on Nov. 2, and "a year and a half later, the inexplicable remains confirmed."

"It was a prodigious intervention, a miracle of the first order," Pierro said.

Devout Catholics believe that after death, the souls of the deceased are able to hear earthly prayers to God. Their ability to intervene on behalf of requests for healing is seen as proof that the virtuous reside in heaven.

The first step to sainthood is beatification. If a candidate is credited with a miracle after death or found to be a martyr, he is declared blessed and may be venerated. The Vatican must examine every aspect of the candidate's life and teachings to make sure he expressed no heretical views. After beatification, another miracle is needed for canonization and the formal declaration of sainthood.

The process is conducted in secrecy and can take decades or even centuries, although restrictions seem to have loosened in modern times. In his 26-year pontificate, Pope John Paul II canonized 482 saints -- more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the last 500 years, according to the Vatican.

The current pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, has called for stricter rules in the nomination of saints. At the same time, he has put his predecessor on the fast track to sainthood by waiving the usual five-year waiting period after a candidate's death. The rule was designed to guard against emotionally charged decisions.

Still, the Vatican has yet to provide some important details about the latest miracle -- nothing is known about the name or address of the healed cancer patient and no details have been given about the doctor who was treating the man.


From : Spiegel Online International

A Miracle of Healing

French nun says life has changed since she was healed thanks to JPII

By Catholic News Service

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France (CNS) -- The French nun who believes she was healed of Parkinson's disease thanks to Pope John Paul II said her life had "totally changed" since that night two months after the pope's death.

Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, 46, is working again, now in Paris at a maternity hospital run by her order, the Little Sisters of Catholic Motherhood.

She met reporters March 30 in Aix-en-Provence during a press conference with Archbishop Claude Feidt of Aix, the archdiocese where the cure took place.

"I was sick and now I am cured," she told reporters. "I am cured, but it is up to the church to say whether it was a miracle or not."

However, she said, she knows she is well and that she must continue her work "to serve life and to serve the family."

Diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2001, she said that watching Pope John Paul deteriorate from the effects of Parkinson's disease "I saw myself in the years to come."

Pope John Paul died April 2, 2005, and as Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre's condition began to worsen, all the members of the Little Sisters of Catholic Motherhood in France and in Senegal began praying to Pope John Paul to intervene with God to heal her.

By June 2, the religious has said, she was struggling to write, to walk and to function normally.

She said she went to bed that night and woke up very early the next morning feeling completely different.

"I was sure I was healed," she said.

In a March 29 statement, Archbishop Feidt said that after hearing about the alleged healing of Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre he decided to conduct "a thorough investigation" to determine whether it might be the miracle needed for Pope John Paul's beatification. In general, the church must confirm two miracles through the intercession of the sainthood candidate before canonization.

The archbishop said the investigation took a year to complete.

The postulator of Pope John Paul's sainthood cause, Msgr. Slawomir Oder, said the investigation included testimony from theologians and canon lawyers, physicians, a psychiatrist and a handwriting expert, since the legibility of a patient's handwriting is used as an indicator of the progress of Parkinson's disease.

Archbishop Feidt and Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre planned to attend the April 2 ceremony in Rome marking the end of the diocesan phase of Pope John Paul's cause and to attend the memorial Mass Pope Benedict XVI was to celebrate to mark the second anniversary of his predecessor's death.

While in Rome, Archbishop Feidt was to deliver all the documentation regarding the nun's case to the Congregation for Saints' Causes, which will conduct its own investigation into the alleged healing.

Copyright (c) 2007 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

American Catholic

John Paul's Barber

Will a Roman Barber Help Secure Sainthood for John Paul II?

By Alexander Smoltczyk in Rome

An Italian barber who claims he experienced a miracle could become the key figure in the canonization of John Paul II. There are just a few hitches: He's a communist, and he doesn't like the church.

Gianni's razor blade slices through the thick foam on the neck of his customer. "Of course, I told Wojtyla at the time that I'm a communist. He accepted it. Naturally, no one provokes his barber, at least not when he's getting a shave. Am I right, Alberto?" A mumble of assent can be heard through the shaving cream. "Not even a future pope."

Sixty-one-year-old barber Giovanni Vecchio, who goes by Gianni, once gave Karol Wojtyla a shave. It was in 1976 or 1977, and he was working in a barbershop near the Vatican.
"He didn't know his way around. He had a strong accent. He was a guest worker, just like I used to be." The two men talked, in German and Italian, and it didn't take long for him to figure out that, he, Gianni Vecchio, had had a cardinal under his knife. "Back then, in 1978, when the white smoke rose into the sky after the conclave, I was standing in St. Peter's Square, and I heard this voice, with that accent. I know him, I said to myself."

Vecchio, a stout man with a shaved head, looks like a retired wrestler. But he holds his comb and scissors as gracefully as a knife and fork at a gala dinner. His barbershop is little more than a hole in the wall, completely lined with mirrors, on Via Niso, a street flanked by tall, low-income buildings in eastern Rome. A shave costs €5 and a haircut €15. There are special rates for neighbors, a category that seems to apply to almost anyone.

The barber recently became a "miracolato," or a witness to a miracle. This makes him a potential authority on the suitability of a future saint. Before a good Catholic can be beatified or even canonized, a protracted examination procedure is required, which is described in the apostolic constitution known as the "Divinus perfectionis magister."

"Santo subito!" -- "sainthood now!" -- the people who had gathered at night in St. Peter's Square chanted when Pope John Paul II was lying in state inside the basilica. But canonization isn't possible without meticulous examination and the testimony of witnesses. And nothing goes without a miracle, recorded and certified by the relevant Vatican officials.
That's why Gianni Vecchio is so important -- or at least one of the disks in his lower back, the one that is no longer the source of excruciating pain.

Double Entry Bookkeeping

The former pope, who was instrumental in bringing down the Soviet empire, could end up owing his halo to a former guest worker and member of the Italian Communist Party. "Here," he says, offering his proof of party membership: "identification card number 496145, Togliatti section in St. Georgen. Signed by Enrico Berlinguer" -- the legendary party leader.

Vecchio carries the document, which is adorned with the hammer and sickle, in his wallet, along with two small votive pictures, one of John Paul and the other of Mother Teresa. He calls it his personal version of double-entry bookkeeping: "Faith is one account, and politics is another. I was never religious and I'm not religious today. But this Wojtyla has taken me by the hand."

The walls are adorned with several generations of calendars, layered one on top of the other. Gianni has taken out one of them, from 1988, and pinned it on top. "It's relevant again," he says, as he taps the current date with his finger and begins searching for the pieces of evidence in the miracle that involves one the disks in his lower back. Meanwhile, the shaving cream is beginning to dry on Alberto's upper lip. But Alberto doesn't mind waiting, nor do any of Vecchio's other customers. Without his shop, many wouldn't know how to spend their days.

In this country, which often seems to have deteriorated into something one might call Berlusconistan, Vecchio seems as much a relic of the past as the fading calendars on the walls of his shop. He is a holdover from the days of cardboard suitcases, when the poor from southern Italy, including Vecchio, began migrating north. Some went as far as St. Georgen in Germany's Black Forest, where they worked in the factories that were still there in 1961, the factories that produced Dual record players and Kundo and Staiger clocks. "There were 2,500 foreigners in St. Georgen, most of them from Italy," he recalls. "Almost all were communists. And that was the year the Berlin Wall was built. It wasn't easy."

Vecchio loved St. Georgen. He gave the other workers haircuts and began assembling the collection of hair dryers, shaving brushes and razor blades that line the walls of his barbershop today.

Vecchio's Miracle

After Vecchio had returned to Rome and opened a barbershop, and after meeting this Polish priest, he would see him every year on January 6, at the blessing of the manger of Rome's street cleaners, a Christmas cult site for the city's ordinary people. "He always looked at me. And now listen to this…"

A year ago, Vecchio began having severe lower back pain. He could hardly walk anymore, and even giving shaves to his customers became more and more difficult. He went to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with a herniated disk between the second and third lumbar vertebrae.
On July 31, 2009, Vecchio was admitted to the San Giovanni Hospital for surgery ("San Giovanni, like Giovanni Paolo II, does that ring a bell?!"). He saw a photo of John Paul II hanging in the lobby. "It was an early photo of him," he says, "with the eyes I remembered."

An MRI was performed to confirm the diagnosis, and Vecchio was scheduled for surgery on Augusst 3. But then, one day, as he says: "I woke up and the pain was gone. Completely gone! Dottoressa Zaccagnini did another MRI later one and found nothing! She said that while she didn't believe in miracles, there was no explanation for what had happened."
I'm Probably the only Wojtyla Miracle from Italy

It must have been the look in the eyes of his former Polish customer.

"Gianni, you were chosen," a voice says from behind a newspaper on the other side of the barbershop, where three elderly men are now sitting, waiting their turns.

Whatever the explanation, Vecchio remains pain-free to this day. He jogs 10 to 15 kilometers through the city every few days, and he circles his chair with the vitality of days gone by. "And then there was a photo of John Paul lying on the ground in front of my shop the other day. Exactly what I had wished for!" One of the waiting customers chimes in: "Sei miracolato! Like Berlusconi, who didn't have any scars after he was attacked in Milan."

The Place Where Saints Are Made

Vecchio reported his case to the "Congregation for the Causes of Saints" on St. Peter's Square, where -- during normal business hours -- saints are made.
When the Congregation for the Causes of Saints proclaimed the heroic virtue of the Polish pope on Dec. 19, 2009, Vecchio appeared as a guest on Italy's highest-rated talk show, "Porta a Porta," to talk about his herniated disk. "I'm probably the only Wojtyla miracle from Italy," he said.

Although, when it comes to miracles, some in Italy might say that leaving the notorious San Giovanni Hospital alive qualifies as one.

The proclaiming of heroic virtue by Pope Benedict XVI, together with a miracle, is a requirement for beatification. Karol Wojtyla is clearly about to be beatified, and he is also believed to be on the path to sainthood. Even upon close inspection, the way he conducted his life was preeminently Christian, and his writings (all of which were studied with "rigor and sober-mindedness" and presented to the current pope) offer no grounds for skepticism.

The regulars at Salon "Gianni" on Via Niso, at any rate, expect that there will be a new saint to whom they can offer their prayers by this fall, a Saint Karol.

"They said that my case would contribute to his beatification," says Vecchio. Unfortunately, however, the taking of evidence in "Causa Wojtyla" had already been completed in July, and retroactive nominations are not part of the process. This means that Vecchio's miracle will not be of any use to the Vatican until the second phase.

Will It Qualify as a Miracle?

When that happens, a panel of doctors and theologians will examine Vecchio's computer scans, compare the before-and-after images, obtain expert reports and opposing expert reports, and eventually arrive at a vote. And if it turns out that ordinary science can offer an explanation for Vecchio's miraculous recovery, it will not qualify as a true miracle.

"Ciao Gianni, I'll pay you the rest next time," says Alberto, the customer in the chair. "Ciao Alberto. Your turn, Tommaso. The usual?" "The usual, Gianni."

Heroic virtue is unlikely to be in the cards for barber Gianni Vecchio from Via Niso. He is currently separated from his wife and lives with a Croatian woman. He is a barber who sometimes gives his customers shaves -- even the occasional cardinal who happens to wander into his shop.

But without places like Salon "Gianni," Italian society would not be able to offer such tenacious resistance to the faster pace and general disillusionment of modern life. It's a place where, surrounded by bottles of aftershave, photos of grandchildren, pinups and pictures of the saints, Vecchio and his customers discuss the politics of the day and appraise the latest impertinences of the ruling class.

It's only a barbershop, not a place for metaphysical debates.
But wondrous nonetheless.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

From :
Spiegel Online International

Please Also Watch:
Video Link from Rome Reports

Short Biography

Karol Józef Wojtyła, known as John Paul II since his October 1978 election to the papacy, was born in the Polish town of Wadowice, a small city 50 kilometers from Krakow, on May 18, 1920. He was the youngest of three children born to Karol Wojtyła and Emilia Kaczorowska. His mother died in 1929. His eldest brother Edmund, a doctor, died in 1932 and his father, a non-commissioned army officer died in 1941. A sister, Olga, had died before he was born.

He was baptized on June 20, 1920 in the parish church of Wadowice by Fr. Franciszek Zak, made his First Holy Communion at age 9 and was confirmed at 18. Upon graduation from Marcin Wadowita high school in Wadowice, he enrolled in Krakow's Jagiellonian University in 1938 and in a school for drama.

The Nazi occupation forces closed the university in 1939 and young Karol had to work in a quarry (1940-1944) and then in the Solvay chemical factory to earn his living and to avoid being deported to Germany.

In 1942, aware of his call to the priesthood, he began courses in the clandestine seminary of Krakow, run by Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, archbishop of Krakow. At the same time, Karol Wojtyła was one of the pioneers of the "Rhapsodic Theatre," also clandestine.

After the Second World War, he continued his studies in the major seminary of Krakow, once it had re-opened, and in the faculty of theology of the Jagiellonian University. He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Sapieha in Krakow on November 1, 1946.

Shortly afterwards, Cardinal Sapieha sent him to Rome where he worked under the guidance of the French Dominican, Garrigou-Lagrange. He finished his doctorate in theology in 1948 with a thesis on the subject of faith in the works of St. John of the Cross (Doctrina de fide apud Sanctum Ioannem a Cruce). At that time, during his vacations, he exercised his pastoral ministry among the Polish immigrants of France, Belgium and Holland.

In 1948 he returned to Poland and was vicar of various parishes in Krakow as well as chaplain to university students. This period lasted until 1951 when he again took up his studies in philosophy and theology. In 1953 he defended a thesis on "evaluation of the possibility of founding a Catholic ethic on the ethical system of Max Scheler" at Lublin Catholic University. Later he became professor of moral theology and social ethics in the major seminary of Krakow and in the Faculty of Theology of Lublin.

On July 4, 1958, he was appointed titular bishop of Ombi and auxiliary of Krakow by Pope Pius XII, and was consecrated September 28, 1958, in Wawel Cathedral, Krakow, by Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak.

On January 13, 1964, he was appointed archbishop of Krakow by Pope Paul VI, who made him a cardinal June 26, 1967 with the title of S. Cesareo in Palatio of the order of deacons, later elevated pro illa vice to the order of priests.

Besides taking part in Vatican Council II (1962-1965) where he made an important contribution to drafting the Constitution Gaudium et spes, Cardinal Wojtyła participated in all the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops.

The Cardinals elected him Pope at the Conclave of 16 October 1978, and he took the name of John Paul II. On 22 October, the Lord's Day, he solemnly inaugurated his Petrine ministry as the 263rd successor to the Apostle. His pontificate, one of the longest in the history of the Church, lasted nearly 27 years.

Driven by his pastoral solicitude for all Churches and by a sense of openness and charity to the entire human race, John Paul II exercised the Petrine ministry with a tireless missionary spirit, dedicating it all his energy. He made 104 pastoral visits outside Italy and 146 within Italy. As bishop of Rome he visited 317 of the city's 333 parishes.

He had more meetings than any of his predecessors with the People of God and the leaders of Nations. More than 17,600,000 pilgrims participated in the General Audiences held on Wednesdays (more than 1160), not counting other special audiences and religious ceremonies [more than 8 million pilgrims during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 alone], and the millions of faithful he met during pastoral visits in Italy and throughout the world. We must also remember the numerous government personalities he encountered during 38 official visits, 738 audiences and meetings held with Heads of State, and 246 audiences and meetings with Prime Ministers.

His love for young people brought him to establish the World Youth Days. The 19 WYDs celebrated during his pontificate brought together millions of young people from all over the world. At the same time his care for the family was expressed in the World Meetings of Families, which he initiated in 1994.

John Paul II successfully encouraged dialogue with the Jews and with the representatives of other religions, whom he several times invited to prayer meetings for peace, especially in Assisi.

Under his guidance the Church prepared herself for the third millennium and celebrated the Great Jubilee of the year 2000 in accordance with the instructions given in the Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio adveniente. The Church then faced the new epoch, receiving his instructions in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, in which he indicated to the faithful their future path.

With the Year of the Redemption, the Marian Year and the Year of the Eucharist, he promoted the spiritual renewal of the Church.

He gave an extraordinary impetus to Canonizations and Beatifications, focusing on countless examples of holiness as an incentive for the people of our time. He celebrated 147 beatification ceremonies during which he proclaimed 1,338 Blesseds; and 51 canonizations for a total of 482 saints. He made Thérèse of the Child Jesus a Doctor of the Church.

He considerably expanded the College of Cardinals, creating 231 Cardinals (plus one in pectore) in 9 consistories. He also called six full meetings of the College of Cardinals.

He organized 15 Assemblies of the Synod of Bishops - six Ordinary General Assemblies (1980, 1983, 1987, 1990, 1994 and 2001), one Extraordinary General Assembly (1985) and eight Special Assemblies (1980,1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998 (2) and 1999).

His most important Documents include 14 Encyclicals, 15 Apostolic Exhortations, 11 Apostolic Constitutions, 45 Apostolic Letters.

He promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the light of Tradition as authoritatively interpreted by the Second Vatican Council. He also reformed the Eastern and Western Codes of Canon Law, created new Institutions and reorganized the Roman Curia.

As a private Doctor he also published five books of his own: "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" (October 1994), "Gift and Mystery, on the fiftieth anniversary of my ordination as priest" (November 1996), "Roman Triptych" poetic meditations (March 2003), "Arise, Let us Be Going" (May 2004) and "Memory and Identity" (February 2005).

In the light of Christ risen from the dead, on 2 April a.D. 2005, at 9.37 p.m., while Saturday was drawing to a close and the Lord's Day was already beginning, the Octave of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday, the Church's beloved Pastor, John Paul II, departed this world for the Father.

From that evening until April 8, date of the funeral of the late Pontiff, more than three million pilgrims came to Rome to pay homage to the mortal remains of the Pope. Some of them queued up to 24 hours to enter St. Peter's Basilica.

On April 28, the Holy Father Benedict XVI announced that the normal five-year waiting period before beginning the cause of beatification and canonization would be waived for John Paul II. The cause was officially opened by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, on June 28 2005.

Lifted from :
The Official Website of the Holy See

Coat of Arms

The coat of arms of Pope John Paul II is intended as an act of homage to the central mystery of Christianity, the Redemption.

And so the main representation is a cross, whose form, however, does not correspond to the customary heraldic model. The reason for the unusual placement of the vertical section of the cross is readily apparent if one considers the second object inserted in the coat of arms the large and majestic capital M. This recalls the presence of Mary beneath the cross and her exceptional participation in the Redemption.

The great devotion of the Holy Father to the Virgin Mary is manifested in this manner, as it was also expressed in his motto as Cardinal Wojtyla: TOTUS TUUS (All yours). Nor can one forget that within the confines of the ecclesiastical province of Krakow, there is situated the celebrated Marian shrine of Czestochowa, where the Polish people for centuries fostered their filial devotion to the Mother of God.

Description from :
The Official Website of The Holy See

Approved Prayer for Intercession

O Holy Trinity,
we thank you for having given to the Church
Pope John Paul II,
and for having made him shine with your fatherly tenderness,
the glory of the Cross of Christ and the splendour of the Spirit of love

He, trusting completely in your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary, has shown himself
in the likeness of Jesus the Good Shepherd
and has pointed out to us holiness
as the path to reach eternal communion with You.

Grant us, through his intercession,
according to your will, the grace that we implore,
in the hope that he will soon be numbered among your saints.

Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
6 July 2005, page 9

L'Osservatore Romano is the newspaper of the Holy See.
The Weekly Edition in English is published for the US by:

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Pope John Paul II declared Venerable

.- Pope Benedict XVI has signed a decree recognizing the late Pope John Paul II's life of “heroic virtue.” With his signature, Benedict XVI throws the door wide open to the beatification of the much-loved Polish Pontiff and gives him the title "Venerable."

On Saturday morning, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints led by Archbishop Angelo Amato met with Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate their 40th anniversary as a dicastery of the Holy See and to present decrees for papal approval. Pope John Paul II's name was among the Congregation's nominations for those possessing “heroic virtue.”

The next step towards canonization of John Paul II is a second decree to be signed by the Pope that attributes a miracle to him. It is thought that this miracle will be one that has already taken place but has not yet been officially recognized. The miracle involves a French nun who was cured of Parkinson´s disease through John Paul II's intercession.

Following the approval of his first miracle, Venerable Karol Woytilya would be eligible for beatification, and pending a second miracle, he could be declared a saint.

The Vatican has processed his case in record time. Since the Pontiff´s death, less than five years have passed. Five years is the normal amount of time that must go by before the Holy See can begin the investigation process. In this case, Pope Benedict made an exception just a little over a month after John Paul II's death in March of 2005.

Among other documents signed by Benedict XVI on Saturday morning were decrees authenticating the heroic virtue of Pope Pius XII, Pontiff during World War II; the martyrdom of Jerzy Popiełuszko, a Polish priest killed in 1984, and a second miracle attributed to Bless Mary McKillop, who will now become Australia's first saint.

Totus Tuus

As Ven. Pope John Paul II consecrated himself totally to our Mother Mary, so do I to them both. I have admired PJPII since I have become aware of my faith and so now I dedicate my talents to make him this online shrine of sorts.