Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

10/1/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

From the first pope to this one, John Paul the Great, spanning over nearly two thousand years, God's grace to his Body, through the mediation of his earthly Vicar, has been shed without interruption through time and space and across the world

I never thought I would be part of a cheering, waving crowd. After all, I was too old, too sophisticated. Then John Paul II walked out on the stage. It was his Wednesday public audience, and together with my family and six friends I sat only a few rows from the stage of an enormous room that holds up to eight thousand. As he walked slowly toward his chair, I had the overwhelming feeling that I was seeing Christ, and I couldn't hold back, anything.

Saint John Paul II

Saint John Paul II

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/1/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes

Keywords: John Paul II, Blessed John Paul II, St John Paul II, Saint John XXIII, Deal W Hudson, Be not Afraid


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - (Note from the Editor in Chief Keith Fournier. With the wonderful announcement of the date set for the Canonization of both St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II I am happy to present a vintage column which was written by my my good friend Deal Hudson concerning his meeting with St. John Paul II. I will soon write of my own life changing experience of meeting the wonderful gift who was - and is - John Paul II. As we move forward to great canonization I welcome readers who have experienced changes in their own lives through encountering St. John Paul II to write to me at deaconfournier@catholic.org and share your story. I also remind our readers of the tribute site which catholic Online erected after St. John Paul II went home to the Fathers House. It is entitled Blessed John Paul II and can be visited here  )

Il Papa
Deal W Hudson

I never thought I would be part of a cheering, waving crowd. After all, I was too old, too sophisticated. Then John Paul II walked out on the stage. It was his Wednesday public audience, and together with my family and six friends I sat only a few rows from the stage of an enormous room that holds up to eight thousand. As he walked slowly toward his chair, I had the overwhelming feeling that I was seeing Christ, and I couldn't hold back, anything.

Most people would think that an audience with the pope and thousands of other people wouldn't be very satisfying. Only the lucky few on the prima fila, the first row, get to shake his hand afterward. But sitting there among Catholic groups from around the world, hearing them sing to the pope in over a dozen languages, offers nothing less than a revelation of the Church universal. There, addressing itself to every sense of the body, was a living witness to why the Church has one man at its head, one man to represent the one Christ of its Body. I knew I would never again have to explain to my daughter why the pope is called the "Holy Father."

As I watched John Paul II, I kept noticing the sheer size of his shoulders. Here was a philosopher with the shoulders of a stevedore! How heavy the burden is that he carries for all of us, I thought. His body, the way his head bends forward, almost looks crucified already. But as he prayed I could see how he was able to carry it-Christ carries it for him: "Come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavily laden, and I will give you rest. . . . for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matt 11.28)

The joy abounding in that gigantic room-the trumpets, the accordions, the pope-cheers, and giant banners-refutes, in a moment, all the whining one hears in America about "chill winds from Rome." How it must rankle his critics that a pontiff who believes so strongly in Humanae Vitae, and evinces such deep Marian devotion, can elicit such love from across the spectrum of humanity.

The Mexican group in front of us kept breaking into a chant that always brought a smile to the pope's face. "They've got this thing right," I said to my wife. I thought of all the contemporary jazz-it-up programs in this country intended to ignite the kind of spiritual fire that was sweeping through this very room. Guess what: All the rows faced directly toward the stage-there wasn't a circular line in the place! The thousands didn't come to look at each other but to look at one man, a man whose emergent holiness is palpable. But in looking at him we somehow saw one another, and we were united by his Body, in spite of all the differences between us.

Commentators are always pointing out, correctly, the American penchant for individualism. Later on, as our Crisis group shared notes, we were all grateful to have the wave of that great love for the Holy Father, and for Christ, wash over us. Later that day, we descended into the excavations under St. Peter's altar. A young seminarian from the North American College, a member of my own parish in Northern Virginia, led us through the layers of churches and mausoleums leading down to what experts believe are the bones of St. Peter.

At journey's end, standing together directly below Bernini's altar, this young deacon reminded us that this was the same Peter who had denied Christ three times, who had seen him crucified, who had been entrusted the keys to the entire Church. Talk about real presence! When we learned that John Paul II had taken a relic of St. Peter to help him recover from the bullet wound of 1981, our experience of the mysterious unity was now complete. From the first pope to this one, John Paul the Great, spanning over nearly two thousand years, God's grace to his Body, through the mediation of his earthly Vicar, has been shed without interruption through time and space and across the world.

Yet, the undeniable principle that informs this work of grace is that it begins at the head and passes through the rest of the body. We can only pray that the millions of pilgrims that pass through the Vatican between now and the Jubilee year will reaffirm the fundamental form of Catholic Christianity, nowhere more powerfully seen than in the haggard, luminous pope from Poland.

-----
Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D, is President of the Pennsylvania Catholics Network and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine. He is the Senior Correspondent for Church and Culture and a contributing writer for Catholic Online. 

---


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


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2016
Universal:
Small Farmers: That small farmers may receive a just reward for their precious labor.
Evangelization: African Christians: That Christians in Africa may give witness to love and faith in Jesus Christ amid political-religious conflicts.



Comments


More Christian Saints & Heroes

Here's 3 reasons why the canonization of Mother Teresa matters to you Watch

Image of Mother Teresa of Calcutta is an example for all to follow, even the nonbeliever.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

On September 4, 2016, Pope Francis will canonize Mother Teresa as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Her canonization is an important event for Catholics and all people around the world. Here's 3 reasons why. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When Mother Teresa is ... continue reading


Bet you didn't know these 10 things about St. Patrick and Ireland!

Image of Saint Patrick in blue vestments.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The most kids know of St. Patrick 's Day is that you must wear green or you'll get a pinch from your friends. Adults see the day as an occasion to celebrate, sometimes with green beer and other assorted alcoholic beverages. However, few really know what they are ... continue reading


After the Corned Beef: St. Patrick Challenges Modern Christians to be Missionaries

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We need to learn a lesson from this great missionary. He saw what was good in the culture and "baptized" what could be redeemed. He respected the civil order, but never compromised the faith. Then, he went for the next generation with all his efforts, preaching the ... continue reading


Who was the man named Saint Patrick?

Image of Saint Patrick not the first to bring Christianity to Ireland, but it is Patrick who is said to have encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites.

By Catholic Online

Saint Patrick - remembered with parades, the wearing of green and feasts throughout the world wherever there are people of Irish descent, or wish to be -- was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing Christianity to the country. ... continue reading


Pope Francis continues tradition of blessing two lambs in memory of St. Agnes Watch

Image of St. Agnes is honored with the blessing of two lambs (Wordpress).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

On Thursday Pope Francis celebrated St. Agnes' feast day in the Vatican by continuing the centuries-old tradition of blessing two lambs in her honor. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Traditionally, the lambs blessed on January 21 are under a year old and their first ... continue reading


Jennifer Hartline: Trying to Learn Humility From St. Therese Watch

Image of St. Therese of Lisieux

By Jennifer Hartline

St. Therese helps me understand: "the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the ... continue reading


Saints and Heroes of the Faith: Fr Dwight Longenecker On The Day I Met St Therese Watch

Image of St. Therese

By Fr. Dwight Longenecker

I was an Anglican priest the summer I met St Therese of Lisieux. I was living in England and had three months free between jobs, so I decided to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. I was going to hitch hike and stay in monasteries and religious houses on the way. ... continue reading


Vocation to Love. Memorial of Saint Theresa of The Child Jesus, Virgin

Image of St. Theresa died on September 30, 1897. As a result of her sanctity and the many miracles which were accounted to her intercession, the cause for her canonization was introduced only seventeen years later.

By F. K. Bartels

The Little Flower of Jesus sacrificed her life for love of souls. She saw the magnitude of her Beloved's love for them. She offered herself for the building up of the Church, the People of God and the Mystical Body of Christ. That is truly a ... 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


Prayer to St. Junipero Serra: 'Help me deliver the light of Christ...'

Image of Saint Junipero Serra, pray for us!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Saint Junipero Serra, pray for us! Saint Junipero Serra, your missionary zeal brought the light of Christ to millions. You endured so many hardships, and labored so much that your work resonates today in the hearts of hundreds of millions of Catholics. Saint Serra, I ... continue reading


All Christian Saints & Heroes News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 16:11-15
11 Sailing from Troas we made a straight run for Samothrace; the next day ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 149:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 9
1 Alleluia! Sing a new song to Yahweh: his praise in the assembly of the ... Read More

Gospel, John 15:26--16:4
26 When the Paraclete comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 2nd, 2016 Image

St. Athanasius
May 2: St. Athanasius, the great champion of the Faith ... Read More