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1956: In Nigeria, the Brothers of St. Peter Claver joined the Marist Brothers’ Congregation.

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A grateful memory



One year since the death of John Paul II

31/03/2006: Vatican

One year has passed since the death of John Paul II. After his death he was called “Magno”, “the Great”. And with posteriority many Catholics have referred to John Paul II as John Paul the Great. We do not know if this posthumous title will last, as there is no formal procedure for assigning such a title.
As well, many followers of this pontificate asked that he be canonised as quickly as possible, shouting “Santo subito” (“A saint soon”) during the public exposition of his body and during his funeral Mass.

Controversial from within and outside of the Church, this hefty figure stood out with great moral authority. There still has not been the perspective to value some of his more controversial interventions, but he was an intellectual man of firm convictions and a great leader of youth.

John Paul II proved himself to be a skilful diplomat. At the start of John Paul II’s pontificate, the Holy See held diplomatic relations with 84 states, but at the end it was with 173.

He was an extraordinary polyglot; he could speak Polish, Classical Greek, Latin, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, English and German and had sufficient knowledge of Czechoslovakian, Lithuanian, Russian and Hungarian. He even had some knowledge of Japanese, Philippino and various African languages. He was a great sportsman in his youth, even advancing the enthronement ceremony as Pope so as not to interfere with the broadcasting of a football match on television.

He was the first Pope to use so intensively the communication media, and especially, the Internet for spreading his message. He was also the first Pope to approach leaders of other religions such as Judaism, Islam, Orthodox and Buddhism (through the Dalai Lama) amongst others.

On the 25th January 1979, he started the first of his 104 voyages outside of Italy, to Mexico and the Dominican Republic. His final journey was on the 14th August 2004 to the Marian sanctuary of Lourdes, in France. In the spring of 2000 he was able to set foot on the Holy Land. He visited Mount Nebo, where, according to the Old Testament, the prophet Moses saw the Promised Land before dying; he also visited Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nazareth and various localities of Galilee.

Throughout the 27 years of his pontificate, he appointed a total of 232 cardinals. Another characteristic of his pontificate was the huge number of people he proclaimed as Blessed or Saint. For us Marists, he was the Pope who proclaimed Marcellin as a Saint.

Beginning in the Holy Year of 1983 he created the World Youth Days, celebrated in Rome (various times), Buenos Aires, Santiago de Compostela (Spain), Denver (United States), Manila, Czestochowa (Poland), Paris and Toronto (Canada) in 2002.

As well as his fourteen encyclicals, with John Paul II the new Code of Canon Law was published (1983) as well as the Universal Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992), fruit of the special synod of bishops of 1985, dedicated to the Second Vatican Council.

His great desire, which materialised, occurred in the year 2000 when he opened the Holy Door of the Basilica of Saint Peter’s and introduced the Church to the third millennium.

Process of beatification

Pope Benedict XVI, his successor, announced surprisingly the opening of the cause of beatification of John Paul II on the 13th May 2005, two months and twenty-six days after his death. In doing so, he had dispensed with the five years’ wait that must lapse after the death of a Servant of God. During the evening of the 28th June 2005, he officially opened in the Roman Basilica of Saint John Lateran, the process of beatification of Pope John Paul II, with a solemn ceremony which recalled his life and called him “Great”.

In December 2005, the French Catholic newsagency, I-Media, broadcast the news of a miracle attributed to John Paul II, by which a French nun who was suffering from cancer in the terminal stage was inexplicably cured after her companions had asked for her cure through the intercession of John Paul II.

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