Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Chiara Santomiero

3/2/2011 (5 years ago)

Zenit News Agency (

Says John Paul II Believed a Pope's 1st Task Is Prayer

The process leading to the May 1 beatification of Pope John Paul II has shown that there was no distinction between the private life of the Pontiff and his public one. According to the postulator of his cause, the process has been "a confirmation of the total transparency of his life as a man and a priest."

The Beloved and Venerable John Paul II

The Beloved and Venerable John Paul II


By Chiara Santomiero

Zenit News Agency (

3/2/2011 (5 years ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes

Keywords: Pope John Paul II, beatification, sainthood, holiness, saints, heroes

ROME, Italy ( - The process leading to the May 1 beatification of Pope John Paul II has shown that there was no distinction between the private life of the Pontiff and his public one. According to the postulator of his cause, the process has been "a confirmation of the total transparency of his life as a man and a priest."

This was the reflection shared by Monsignor Sawomir Oder at a conference last Friday in Rome. "There wasn't a public Wojtyla and a private one," he said. "The opinion about him developed by the world during his more than 26 years of pontificate has been shown to be true."

According to the monsignor, the media didn't "create" a likable, fervent, engaging Pope. Rather, those qualities were the essence of his person.

The beatification process has also confirmed a "real treasure," according to Monsignor Oder. It has shown that the source of the Holy Father's consistency, energy, enthusiasm and depth was his "encounter with God, his falling in love with Christ and knowing he was loved by Him."

The postulator recounted something Karol Wojtyla once said: "They try to understand me from outside [...] but I can only be understood from within."

Prayer was the "air he breathed, the water he drank, the food that nourished him," Monsignor Oder stated, a prayer that endured until the last hour of his agony.

As many witnesses attested, for John Paul II "the first task of the Pope for the Church and the world is to pray."

"It was from prayer that the fecundity of his action stemmed," the monsignor affirmed. When the Pontiff asked collaborators to suggest solutions to particular problems and they said they had not found any, he would repeat to them, "They will be found when we have prayed more."

Free for truth

Monsignor Oder also attributed John Paul II's "capacity to tell the truth without fear" to his prayer, "because only one who is before God does not fear men."

His inner freedom was also expressed in his detachment from material possessions, the postulator continued, calling the Pope a "man of radical poverty."

He explained how witnesses from Krakow recall laundering new clothes several times so they appeared used, thereby tricking Karol Wojtyła into accepting them instead of promptly give them to the poor.

His inner liberty was also exercised in relation to others, the monsignor said. The Pope was a man who knew how to accept criticism, and he would not shun a difficult position out of fear -- neither fear of authorities during his years in Poland, nor of public opinion during his years as Pope.

Success was never his objective, Monsignor Oder said. Rather, it was "to proclaim the truth of the Gospel and to defend the truth about man."

From this liberty, he continued, founded on his relationship with God, "was born the cry, 'do not be afraid,' the beginning and motto of his pontificate."

Monsignor Oder described the Pope as someone who sought closeness with every person.

"Wojtyla, who very soon lost his natural family, had a strong sense of family and knew human warmth," he said. And these familial bonds stretched beyond the confines of the Church.

Monsignor Oder recounted an encounter with a Jewish woman who told him she had lost her father twice: "The first time when her natural father died, and the second with the death of John Paul II."

Free for suffering

The cross is another element in Wojtyla's life that shouldn't be overlooked, Monsignor Oder said.

He remembered how the Pope carried suffering "with dignity, and, at the end, in a silence that spoke more than words."

The postulator reflected, "Millions of people in the world keep in their memory the image broadcast by TV of the Pope from behind in his private chapel, embracing the cross during the celebration of Good Friday."

Monsignor Oder thus described the beatification process as more than a "bureaucratic examination." Instead, he asserted, it restored "intensity and vigor" to aspects already known about Pope Wojtyla, and brought to light many more.


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 2:19-22
19 So you are no longer aliens or foreign visitors; you are ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands on the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 6:12-16
12 Now it happened in those days that he went onto the mountain to pray; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 28th, 2016 Image

St. Jude Thaddaeus
October 28: St. Jude, known as Thaddaeus, was a brother of ... Read More