Holy Father, it's been one year already!
Fr Ireneusz Skubis
The issue of 'Niedziela' on 2 April 2006 is devoted to the first anniversary of the death of the Holy Father John Paul II. It has been one year already. Time flows so quickly. It is even hard to imagine that our reflections on the person of the Servant of God John Paul II will be so vivid, deepened, cordial and so very human.
On 2 April 2005, at the time of the Jasna Gora Appeal, Pope John Paul II went to the House of the Father. Although it had to happen some day we did not imagine the moment he would be not with us. The whole nation in Poland as well as the whole Church thought that way and so did all humanity. We remember the time of the Holy Father's struggle with illness; we remember his last hours of suffering and dying. We knew that the moment would come. Being almost glued to the television and radio sets we caught all news because we wanted to know what was going on with the Holy Father and we felt very sorry for him. We were happy to hear every message about some improvement of his condition. Our hope revived, we thought that his organism would mobilise its strengths to overcome the illness, that the Holy Father would live longer. We deeply believed that and with hope we waited for further news.
And it happened. Our editorial board did not have courage to write about his death. We could not simply be prepared for that event. We could have behaved a little bit childish but we knew well that we wanted to be more human than to be professional journalists. Then we prepared efficient informational service about the life and death of John Paul II. We always felt a family relationship with the Holy Father who had welcomed us so cordially in the Vatican, who had so many friendly words for 'Niedziela' and the words directed to us personally. Thus we had some right to experience his death in a family way.
Now, on the first anniversary of his death, we all recollect this unique time for us, time of some explosion of love that the holy Man, whom we loved dearly, invoked in us. And each of us asks the question: what have I done with that love? Did I multiply it a hundredfold or did I simply dig it in the ground?
In this issue of our weekly we are publishing beautiful and deep texts of the people we were close to the Pope for years as well as other spiritual people who were influenced by the Pope in a special way. These are the reflections of Cardinal Stanislaw Nagy, a friend of the Holy Father and an excellent theologian; these are the words of Bishop Stanislaw Wielgus of Plock, Archbishop Stanislaw Nowak of Czestochowa; these are the recollections of Prof. Zofia Zdybicka, Catholic University of Lublin. All the texts are full of love and show the Polish Pope who spoke about many things that are close to our hearts. We also rejoice that we can publish the words of the closest collaborator of John Paul II Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz who writes about the encyclical of the Successor of John Paul II entitled 'Deus caritas est'. Issue 11 of our Papal Collection (a double edition), entitled 'The Pope - anniversary of his death' contains special texts concerning the Holy Father. We publish the letters we received in our web service after the death of John Paul II. About one thousand people from all over the world sent messages to our book of condolence. So many of them will be able to find their texts, which tell about extraordinary, personal human love for John Paul II, about full confidence in him and inspiration of his faith and life. Many express hope that the Holy Father is with us in the community of the saints; that he listens to us and is our holy guardian.
I have already proposed to proclaim John Paul II patron of Europe. Naturally, many formalities must be fulfilled but today I repeat, in my opinion, this wonderful idea. Nobody else knew our continent so well than John Paul II. He knew how strong Europe's Christian roots were and appealed that Europe should remain Christian land if it wanted to preserve its identity. Therefore, he is worthy to be called patron of this continent and no one but him could intercede in Heaven and lead us through the influence of his teaching. Thus I appeal to the Church authorities as well as to the citizens of Europe to make suitable steps..
And today, Holy Father, we would lie to thank you again that we can be called John Paul II generation, that we could get to know you from your teaching and in great numbers we could get to know you personally, kiss your work-worn holy hand and bring a photo with you from Rome or a rosary from you...
Participating in the way of the Cross in Lent we remember your last Way of the Cross when you wanted to see only suffering Lord... That way of the Cross will always remain in our memory as a pattern of unity with Christ. We would like to pass away to the Lord in this way one day...
The resolution of the Seym of the Republic of Poland concerning the first anniversary of death of His Holiness John Paul II
The first anniversary of the death of John Paul II falls on 2 April. We all - believers and non-believers - recollect that day as a moment of a special lesson in humanity and Christianity, as the time of deep experience of belonging to the community of the nation and Christian world.
On the first anniversary of the death of the Polish Pope the Seym of the Republic of Poland wants to express great gratitude for all that he did for the world, for Poland and Polish people, for our freedom; for his teaching, which he left future generations and us.
The Seym of the Republic of Poland remains in thought and prayer with millions of our fellow countrymen who honour and remember John Paul the Great.