Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

1/18/2011 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Soon we will also affirm what the miracles effected by his continued intercession confirm, John Paul II is a Saint

The sentiment of the faithful "Santo Subito" echoed as the Church discerned the cause of his canonization. Now, he will be raised to the Altar on the Feast of Divine Mercy and the faithful will call him "Blessed John Paul II." We will soon affirm what miracles effected by his intercession confirm, John Paul II is a Saint. 

The Venerable John Paul II who will soon be raised to the Altar

The Venerable John Paul II who will soon be raised to the Altar


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

1/18/2011 (5 years ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes

Keywords: John Paul II, beatification, holiness, Pope, Papacy, Divine Mercy, Pope Benedict XVI, Deacon Keith Fournier

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - On April 2, 2005 at 9:37 p.m. the Venerable Pope John Paul II died. In April of 2009 his beloved successor, Pope Benedict XVI, told Pilgrims gathered in Rome "With you, I pray for the gift of beatification".  That prayer has been answered.  Friday, January 14, 2011 the Holy See released the "Decree for the Beatification of the Servant of God John Paul II." The  full decree is found here on the Vatican Radio site

The choice of the Feast of Divine Mercy, May 1, 2011 is not accidental. He had a deep devotion to his fellow Pole Sr. Faustina Kowalska and to the Divine Mercy devotion identified with her. In August 2002, in Lagiewniki, Poland where Sr. Faustina lived and died, John Paul II entrusted the entire world  "to Divine Mercy, to the unlimited trust in God the Merciful."

The Decree of his Beatification notes, "Since the beginning of his pontificate, in 1978, John Paul II often spoke in his homilies of the mercy of God. This became the theme of his second encyclical, Dives in Misericordia, in 1980. He was aware that modern culture and its language do not have a place for mercy, treating it as something strange; they try to inscribe everything in the categories of justice and law. But this does not suffice, for it is not what the reality of God is about."

With millions of the faithful I prayed throughout those final days of his life before he entered the eternal communion of love. What a gift he was - and still is. He showed us how to live and how to love as Jesus, poured out for others. He showed us that suffering joined to the Savior is a sign and vehicle of God's mercy and an occasion of grace. Then, he showed us how to die, not with fear, but with faith.

This Polish Pope was so filled with the love of God it was contagious. A talented and gifted "man of letters", a playwright, a philosopher, an intellectual giant, a poet, and a genuine human being , he had a heart that embraced the whole world like the Heart of the One whom he represented on earth.

He traversed the globe, proclaiming freedom to the captives and truth to the victims of failed false ideologies that had ravaged the people of the twentieth century, the bloodiest in all of human history. He proclaimed the unchanging, Christian message with a prophetic urgency, profound clarity and contemporary relevance.

Many tried to label him but he demonstrated how shallow the labels can be. He was simply a Christian who stood on the shoulders of giants, rooted in the ancient rich tradition of the Church while proclaiming Jesus Christ as "forever young."

Communism, atheism, secularism, and false humanisms, were exposed because he had the courage to stand up to tyrants with the bold message of the God who came among us to make us all new! He taught that Jesus Christ is the path to authentic personal, social and universal freedom!

He authored more encyclical letters, apostolic exhortations, constitutions and letters than any Pope in the two thousand year history of the Christian Church. Once I started reading his writings as a young man I could not stop. I wanted to consume them, and I have done so, over and over.I also hoped to become them and offer them to others. On that front, I have a long way to go.

It was the writings of this great Pope which prompted a later call in life for this lawyer to the Diaconate and then to the pursuit of a Masters Degree at his Institute and later studies for the PhD in Moral Theology at Catholic University, focusing on his contributions. I knew I was to be a part of the "New Evangelization" and "New Springtime" of world missions which he proclaimed. His successor, Pope Benedict the Builder, is now leading the work. 

Over many years I have come to understand more deeply the meaning of living in the communion of the Church because Pope John Paul II taught about it and lived it with such beauty. I have tried to practice his version of authentic ecumenism. I have tried to pass on to others his message of authentic freedom. However, the older I get, the more I realize how little I have accomplished.

This giant whose voice changed history was barely able to speak during those final hours. The once physically robust Pope presided over the Church from a wheelchair as a prophetic sign of the dignity of every human life; the message he carried throughout his pontificate. Just before he died he spoke to a friend at his bedside "I am happy. You should be too. Let us pray together with joy." Then, on April 2, 2005 at 9:37 p.m. after asking, "Let me go to my Father's House", he died in peace. The world wept.

I remember his death like it was yesterday. Along with millions, my heart sunk as he was placed in the earth after such a long period of suffering. When the "transitus" (passing to eternal life) of this holy man was completed it seemed as though that earth stood still. History was changed by the witness of one man singularly conformed to the One whom he served, Jesus Christ.

Pope John Paul II became in both life and death a "living letter", as St Paul wrote to the Corinthians. (2 Cor.3) Also, like the master he loved he became a "grain of wheat" fallen to the ground in order to bear much fruit. (John 12: 24-26) Like countless others my life was forever changed by this prophet who occupied Peters' chair for such a brief time. I must admit, my heart still hurts when I think of him. I miss him.

Like millions, I am convinced that history will record him as "John Paul the Great." However, I am also convinced that his message still needs to be unpacked in order to be used as material for the work to be done in this new missionary age.

There is no doubt that we had a saint in our midst. A man so filled with Jesus Christ that, like the Apostle Paul, he no longer lived but "Christ lived in him." (Galatians 2) The sentiment of the faithful expressed on the day on which his body was processed through the streets of Rome, "Santo Subito" has echoed as the Church has discerned the cause of his canonization.

Now, he will be raised to the Altar on the Feast of Divine Mercy and the faithful will call him "Blessed John Paul II." There is little doubt that soon, we will also affirm what the miracles effected by his continued intercession  confirm, John Paul II is a Saint. 


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for SEPTEMBER 2016
Centrality of the Human Person: That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center.
Evangelization: Mission to Evangelize: That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.


More Christian Saints & Heroes

St. Ignatius of Antioch: Model of Bravery, Man for our Times Watch

Image of One of many icons of St. Ignatius of Antioch

By Billy Atwell

In the face of the current "witch-hunts" endured by some of our Bishops, let us remember a hero on October 17, the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch.  St. Ignatius of Antioch is a bishop and martyr of the Church who died in the ... continue reading

St Francis Through the Eyes of His Friend St Bonaventure Watch

Image of Francis of Assisi in prayer

By Deacon Keith Fournier

There is so much to write about in this marvelous account of the life of one of my own personal heroes, the saint whose witness led me back to the Church, Francis of Assisi. However, I will focus on one aspect of Bonaventure's tribute to Francis. He was his ... continue reading

A Promise to God: St. Michael the Archangel, Defend Us in Battle Watch

Image of Michael is also represented in icons as standing on a horizontal body and with his left arm held high, holding a small image of a

By Youngsun Jun

Though I am not strong enough to hold the suffering souls in my arms and carry them home, I can do one thing: I can pray for the deliverance of the souls who are in the darkness. I can request help from the angels for them. I can make a 911 call for them. So again, I ... continue reading

The Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael: Archangels and Powerful Spiritual Allies Sent by Love and for Love Watch

Image of

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

The Catechism of the Catholic Church informs us - The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls 'angels' is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition (328). Charged by God to ... continue reading

My Memoir of St. Padre Pio: Price of Suffering and Beatification by the Brush of Grace

Image of Padre Pio in death.

By Matt Hicks

Miraculous testimony of an elite level gymnast touched by Padre Pio: 'Pio, like all the saints, is like the window-washer that scales tall buildings to clear away the muck and allow us to see His luminous rays aflame. God sends them, as He pushes us forward, ... continue reading

Which is it? Saint Teresa of Calcutta or Mother Teresa of Kolkata Watch

Image of The icon of Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

There is confusion over the proper title of Mother Teresa. Her name is appearing in the media as both "Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta" and "Mother Teresa of Kolkata," sometimes written with the word "Mother" and sometimes without. Which is correct? LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

The saints are real and active in our lives! Saint Padre Pio intercedes on behalf of baby with critical heart condition Watch

Image of Saint Padre Pio has been credited with intercession that saved the life of baby Caitlin Dooley.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The saints are real and active in our lives. This is more obvious than ever following the miraculous recovery of a baby in an Irish intensive care unit. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - A relic of Saint Padre Pio has been credited with a dramatic improvement in ... continue reading

Clare of Assisi as Model: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Calls for Women of Courage to Renew the Church Watch

Image of


In her convent of San Damiano, Clare heroically practiced the virtues that should characterize all Christians: humility, a spirit of piety and penance, and charity.  Her fame of sanctity and the prodigies that came about thanks to her intervention led Pope ... continue reading

Fr. Paul Schenck on Edith Stein: Daughter of Israel, Daughter of the Church Watch

Image of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz: Throughout her life, Edith never renounced or denounced her Jewish identity. Rather, as demonstrated in her memoir, her participation in Jewish customs at home, her letter to the Pope and in her correspondences, she spoke of her Jewish roots as intrinsic to her self-identification, to her views and even to aspects of her vocation

By Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck

August 9 is the Memorial of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz. In this sketch, Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck, Jewish born priest and Chair of the National Pro-Life Center (Washington, DC), examines the ... continue reading

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Challenges All of Us to Become Saints Watch

Image of On July 31st we remember the founder of the Company or Society of Jesus (Jesuits), Ignatius of Loyola. He is the patron saint of soldiers and of retreatants. There is a connection. He was a soldier and the Spiritual Exercise which he left us have been used for hundreds of years to help men and women like us encounter Jesus Christ, on retreats, and in our daily lives. The disciplines they promote can help us to grow in holiness of life, no matter what our state in life, and equip us for service in the Army of the King, Jesus Christ.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Over the centuries, the Jesuits have been relied upon by Popes as trustworthy, heroic soldiers for Jesus Christ and His Church. Yes, there have been times when the company seemed to lose its fervor. However, Jesus Christ the King has always sent His Spirit to ... continue reading

All Christian Saints & Heroes News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 6:1-9
1 Children, be obedient to your parents in the Lord -- that is what ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:10-11, 12-13, 13-14
10 All your creatures shall thank you, Yahweh, and your faithful shall ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:22-30
22 Through towns and villages he went teaching, making his way to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 26th, 2016 Image

St. Bean
October 26: On December 16, there is named in the Roman ... Read More