Your pilgriming was extraordinary

Fr Ireneusz Skubis

Dearest, Beloved Holy Father! We call you the Pilgrim Pope in this edition of the Papal Collection. Holy Father, we recollect those great events which accompanied your trips all over the world. That was not an ordinary pilgriming. You made it pilgriming to God who was present in the lives of particular nations. You helped them discover God, reminded them of his supernatural presence in many events, reaffirmed their often-weak faith and made it wonderfully dynamic. We call you Missionary of the World. You travelled throughout all continents, You came to simple people, the poor, the afflicted, the enslaved in order to tell them, 'You are God's children - therefore, you are very important to him! You deserve freedom; you deserve human rights and respect for your humanity. Your governments and leaders must know this. They should respect you.'
Holy Father, you spoke - like in Poland - to us and for us. That was also among other places in Cuba. That happened in other countries, which wanted to show the world how modern they were, what wonderful rights they had, how much they respected men, what freedom people had, but those were the countries in which God was put aside, the countries which perversely claimed that religion was a private matter of every citizen, the citizen who was rather less progressive, perhaps even a freak.
Holy Father, you travelled around the world making people aware what true freedom was. You demanded this religious freedom; you asserted the right to worship Lord God - and to worship him in all cultures and religions. You did not exclude anybody, and that was great because you were great. That's why you were called 'the Pope of human rights'. You did not only show us all those matters in your speeches but also in your numerous documents, which you wrote at your desk. You were a great philosopher of man whom you loved so much.
Your heart embraced all people because they all were dear to you. When you talked to someone he knew that at that moment you stopped being concerned about the whole world and you were only concerned about that very person. This was, Holy Father, your philosophy that was a characteristic God's sign of your pastoral visits and meetings in Rome as well as general and private audiences.
John Paul II, you taught us how we should respect our earth and how we should respect holy places. We do remember your kneeling and kissing the ground of all the places when you deplaned. How numerous, precious and symbolic are your gifts for the holy pictures (crowns, roses, rings, objects marked with your suffering). You taught us through the example of your life how we should respect man and worship Lord God.
You, Moses of the 20th century, knew how to lead people to God. Holy Father, your pilgriming was magnificent and unique. You were the Pilgrim Pope more than any other pontiff. Your travels will remain for us all an extremely important spiritual testament, reminding us that man is called to go to God, to the values God makes man aware of through his Revelation, the words of the Holy Scriptures as well as through other signs of his holy presence. And your pilgriming infected the world. It seems that the world recognised that the way you proposed, the way you followed yourself, is the right way. All your globetrotting - and there were over 100 visits - aimed at showing God's thinking, aimed at showing that man was destined to meet God to whom he should entrust all his matters and place his confidence in God's Providence... By publishing the booklets of the Papal Collections we would like to thank you again for everything in the world that changed for the better because of You, and most of all we would like to thank you for showing that man is homo viator - man on the way, a pilgrim.
John Paul II, continue to lead us through the word and work you left and the possibility of your intercession, which you are undoubtedly enjoying.

Papieska Kolekcja "Niedzieli" nr 3/2005

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: