Wednesday, January 31, 2007

At the Death of John Paul II

Today, Zenit published an excerpt of Don Stanislaw Dziwisz's book, A Life with Karol.
Now the Cardinal Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Dziwisz was secretary to Pope Pope John Paul II for over 40 years. This excerpt touches on the moments surrounding the death of the Pope. Reading that brought back memories for me as well. I still remember vividly what I was doing when I heard the news.
For your readers out there, do you remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news of Pope John Paul's passing? Any memories that you would like to share?
If you do, go ahead and leave a comment.
Perhaps these photos from my collection will refresh your memories of this great man who was so faithful to prayer, and the events and ceremonies surrounding his death.

At the Death of John Paul II

Excerpt From Book "A Life With Karol"

Here is a translation of an excerpt from the book that recounts Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz's memories of his longtime collaboration with Pope John Paul II.

"A Life With Karol" is the title of the volume, written by journalist Gian Franco Svidercoschi, former deputy director of L'Osservatore Romano.
The volume was recently released in Italy and will be published by Doubleday for the English-speaking world. This excerpt is taken from Chapter 35.

* * *
It was 9:37 p.m. We realized that the Holy Father had stopped breathing; however, just in that moment we saw in the monitor that his great heart, after having beaten for some instants, had stopped. Dr. Buzzonetti bent over him and, raising his gaze slightly, mused: "He has passed to the House of the Lord." Someone stopped the hands of the clock at that hour.

We, as if deciding all together, began to sing the Te Deum, not the Requiem, because it wasn't mourning, but the Te Deum, in thanksgiving to the Lord for the gift he had given us, the gift of the person of the Holy Father, of Karol Wojtyla.

We wept. How could one not weep!
[Andrew: Weep? I was bawling like a baby. I expected it, but still, when the moment came...
Looking at him lying there, lifeless, who was once so alive. Yes, I wept too. Like Father Neuhaus, the only thing that came to my mind was gratitude, and all that I could say through my tears were 'Thank you, Holy Father, thank you.']

They were, at once, tears of sorrow and joy. Then all the lights of the house were turned on. Darkness came over me, within me. I knew that it had happened, but it was as if, afterwards, I refused to accept it, or I refused to understand it. I placed myself in the Lord's hands, but as soon as I thought by heart was at peace, the darkness returned.

Until the moment of farewell arrived.
There were all those people, all the important people who had come from afar. But, above all, there were his people, his young people. There was a great light in St. Peter's Square, and then the light also returned within me.
The homily over, Cardinal Ratzinger made that reference to the window, and said that he was surely there, seeing us, blessing us.
I also turned around, I could not but turn around, but I didn't look up there. At the end, when we reached the doors of the basilica, those who carried the coffin turned it slowly, as though enabling him to have one last look at the square, his final farewell to men, to the world.

Also his last farewell to me? No, not to me. At that moment, I wasn't thinking of myself. I lived that moment along with many others, and we were all shaken, distressed, but for me it was something I shall never be able to forget. Meanwhile, the cortege was entering the basilica; they were to take the coffin to the tomb.

Then, precisely at that moment, I began to think: I have accompanied him for almost 40 years, first 12 in Krakow, then 27 in Rome. I was always with him, by his side. Now, at the moment of death, he walked alone. And this fact, my not being able to accompany him, pained me much.

Yes, all this is true, but he has not left us. We feel his presence, and also so many graces obtained through him.[Translation by ZENIT. Published with permission of Rizzoli International Publishers]

Though Pope John Paul has gone to his reward, I was still devastated. The Church had just lost Her earthly shepherd.

But God did not abandon his people and in due time, came the news of great joy.

Habemus Papam!

And this man, Pope John Paul's faithful collaborator for so many years, came to impart his blessing from the great Loggia of St. Peter's.

He, who had stood so many times at the side of his friend, had now taken his seat as Successor to St. Peter, the Apostle and Vicar of Christ on Earth.I rejoiced, and the world rejoiced too.

Although with the current state of the Church, even if one is tempted just to shrug and entrust everything to Providence, we must always remember that the Holy Spirit is always at work within Her, guiding Her way. We remember the promise of Christ, Her Head, that come what may, be they liberals, communists, fundamentalist Muslims or the Blair government, the Gates of Hades shall NOT prevail. In that promise, I take comfort.

As for His Holiness, the Servant of God Pope John Paul the Great, I remember him not only as he was in death.
But as he was in life. I will let his example and teachings continue to inspire me in my journey of faith and I will walk along the narrow path with his words ringing in my ears, come what may, 'Be not afraid! Open wide the doors to Christ!'.

PS: I'm really really jealous of this kid. What I wouldn't give to be in his shoes. =)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bible Quiz

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

Hat tip to Pro Ecclesia.

Nun renews vows – 50 years on

I'm always impressed and humbled by such examples of fidelity and trust in God's will.
Perhaps one day, I may also be given the grace to take the plunge in obedience to his call.

From The Star:

Active and serenely happy, she is still continuing the same voca-tion she chose when she turned 23 – serving the poor and elderly as a nun of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The Roman Catholic Order, which has international commu-nities around the world, operates two homes in Malaysia for the el-derly poor. They are in Kuala Lum-pur and Penang.

Based in Penang since Novem-ber 2000, Lazaroo, taking the name Sr Jeanne Du Coeur Immaculee, made her first vows at 26, exactly a half century ago on Jan 6, 1957.

Now 50 years later and coinci-dentally at the same place – Pe-nang – Sr Jeanne, renewed the same promise to serve God.

Professing the vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and hospitali-ty, Sr Jeanne has no regrets what-soever in leaving her secular life and quitting her job then as a civil servant in the Income Tax Depart-ment.

Among the family:Sr Jeanne with her sisters,sisters-in-law and other relatives from Malacca,Singapore and Perth, Australia.
In front of her fellow nuns in-cluding the Hong-Kong based Mo-ther Provincial, Mother Theresa Lee and Mother Superior, Sr Maria Clarette, family, friends and resi-dents of the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged in Penang, Sr Jeanne recently renewed her vows during her celebration mass.

Friends and family had travel-led from as far as Perth, Singapore and Malacca – Sr Jeanne’s home-town – for her Golden Jubilee Ce-lebration Mass, which was follo-wed by lunch.

Before serving in Penang, Sr Je-anne had also served in Hong Kong for almost 16 years and then another 20 years in Kuala Lumpur.

The Golden Jubilee mass was indeed a joyous occasion, cele-brating constant fidelity and trust in God.

Rev Fr Benedict Nieukey, cha-plain at the Home and the celebrant of the mass said Sr Jeanne is a very kind and concerned person.

“She sees to the little things that many people would miss.

“She is very caring and will tend to the needs of the people even before they ask anything!

“Her faithfulness and generosity to say ‘Yes’ to God and persevering all through the years, are an inspiration to everyone,” declared Sr Maria Clarette, the Mother Supe-rior of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Penang.

The celebration was a reflection of Sr Jeanne’s service to people re-gardless of race and religion be-cause friends from various religions – Christians, Buddhists and Muslims – were there to celebrate with Sr Jeanne.

When asked about her cheery outlook in life, Sr Jeanne who looks at least two decades youn-ger than her age smiled and said:

“I always talk to God and tell him everything. It’s the same as talking to a friend.

“If I have any secret to my hap-py life as a nun, it’s that I always turn to God – always,’ chuckled Sr Jeanne, her eyes twinkling mer-rily.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Where's the Motu Proprio?

Oh boy, am I in trouble this time. I can't believe I lost the motu proprio.

The Catholic bloggers are going to have a field day with this one. Sigh...

Lord, what ever am I to do now...

A voice: Holy Father!
Papa Ratzi: Eh? Who's that calling me?

Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo: Holy Father, I saw Piero running in there with your motu proprio! You can see him if you put your fingers like this.

Others: Yes, we saw him too!
Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo: There, with his back against the wall.

You come out of there Piero. The game is up.
I see you. Don't let me come in there!

Papa Ratzi: Heheh! Who's your Papa now =)
Piero: Crap. This chain is starting to feel pretty heavy right about now. I think I'm going to go hang myself with it.

Aiiieeeee! Oh yeah! You know whats coming. I feel like dancing too.

Disclaimer: No Popes or Masters of Papal Liturgical Ceremonies were hurt in this production. This is purely meant in a spirit of fun and not meant to cause any offense.

Actually the photos are from Rome's St. Paul Outside the Walls Basilica, where Pope Benedict XVI presided over a prayer service to mark the end of prayer week for Christian Unity, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2007.
Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday called for honest dialogue among Christians as he expressed sadness over tensions between Churches following centuries of divisions. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

The picture of the delighted Pope was of His Holiness reacting to an acquaintance in a crowd of worshippers while leaving Vespers prayers for St. Paul the Apostle, at St Paul's Basilica Outside the Walls in Rome January 25, 2007. REUTERS/Dario Pignatelli (ITALY)