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'Extraordinary gift of God': Pope Francis gives moving message to young people on 100th anniversary of St. John Paul II's birth

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May 18, 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of St. John Paul II's birth.

May 18, 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of St. John Paul II's birth.

May 18, 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of St. John Paul II's birth.


By Abigail James
5/19/2020 (1 month ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Pope Francis, Pope John Paul II, JPII, St John Paul II, Hope, Poland, Message

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In a special message, recalling his trip to John Paul's birth country, Pope Francis described him as "an extraordinary gift of God to the Church and to Poland."

"Dear young people, this is what I wish for each of you: to enter into Christ with your whole life. And I hope that the celebrations of the centenary of the birth of St. John Paul II will inspire in you the desire to walk courageously with Jesus."

"St. John Paul II was an extraordinary gift of God to the Church and to Poland, your homeland. His earthly pilgrimage, which began on May 18, 1920 in Wadowice and ended 15 years ago in Rome, was marked by a passion for life and a fascination for the mystery of God, the world and man."

Pope Francis reminded us all about St. John Paul's remarkable faith and how he emphasized mercy during his 27-year pontificate.

Addressing the young poeple in Krakow, the pope expressed, "In the light of God's merciful love he grasped the specificity and beauty of the vocation of women and men, he understood the needs of children, young people and adults, considering also cultural and social conditioning," he said, inviting youngsters to discover the saint's life and teaching via the internet.

"Each and every one of you, dear young people, bears the imprint of your family, with its joys and sorrows. Love and care for the family is a characteristic trait of John Paul II. His teaching is a sure reference point for finding concrete solutions to the difficulties and challenges facing families today."

Pope Francis explained that John Paul II serves as an inspiration to young people and stands as proof that a difficult family life does not need to be an obstacle to holiness and happiness. 

St. John Paul II had experienced so much grief by the time he was 20 and faced even greater challenges as a priest and bishop in the Catholic Church.

"The difficulties, even harsh ones, are a test of maturity and faith; a test that can only be overcome by relying on the power of Christ who has died and is risen," the pope said.

"John Paul II reminded the whole Church of this from his first encyclical, Redemptor hominis, where he says: 'The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly ... must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into him with all his own self.'"

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Years after his passing, St. John Paul II continues to be someone who embodies what it means to be a man of God.

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