Who knew that in 2014 the Parliament of Canada in Bill C-266 declared that April 2 would be Pope John Paul II Day across Canada?  Of course what is celebrated is primarily the saint’s secular accomplishments , which of course were not insignificant, but some of his focus on leading young people to follow and live “the teachings of Christ” are also mentioned.  We read that:

Whereas Pope John Paul II served as the pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church from October 16, 1978, until his death on April 2, 2005;
Whereas Pope John Paul II is widely recognized as a leading figure in the history of the Roman Catholic Church and the world and played an influential and vital role in promoting international understanding and peace;
Whereas Pope John Paul II loved young persons and was instrumental in establishing World Youth Day in 1985 as a way to inspire youth and encourage them in living out the teachings of Christ;
Whereas Pope John Paul II visited Canada in his capacity as Pope for the first time in 1984 and later in 1987 and 2002;
And whereas Pope John Paul II visited many countries around the world and helped to end communism in EasternEurope…
Throughout Canada, in each and every year, the second day of April is to be known as “Pope John Paul II Day”.
Wladyslaw Lizon, proponent of the Bill cited Pope John Paul II’s focus on peace and understanding between all persons quoted the Saint:
He once said, “[I]nstead of marveling at the fact that Providence allows such a great variety of religions, we should be amazed at the number of common elements found within them”. As well, on a visit to Jordan, he pointed out, “The three historical monotheistic religions count peace, goodness and respect for the human person among their highest values”.   See full text
Despite objections from the other parties in the House the bill passed in Parliament.
So what can we as people of faith do to celebrate the Pope who reminded us so often not to be afraid to open ourselves up fully to Christ, to follow him without reserve.  How can we honor him as individuals or families? Well her are some suggestions:
  1. Pray a rosary for the Church, for the Pope, our Bishops, our Priests and  lay faithful that we might remain fearlessly true to the legacy of Pope St. John Paul II in being faithful and engaged disciples of Christ despite the many pressures in this world to abandon His teachings.
  2. Read one of Pope St. John Paul’s many Encyclicals, letters or exhortations.  For a complete list click here(all available online).
  3. Read or enquire about a course in Pope St. John Paul’s seminal teaching on the Theology of the Body:  form more info on available material or courses email Deborah Larmour at  uwitness2family@skeparchy.org or call/text 306-717-2756.
  4. Share with someone the fact that it is Pope St. John Paul II day and tell them about some of the Pope’s accomplishments or the impact he had on your life personally.  (If you do have a story to tell, make sure you at least share it with your family and children.)

Personally, Pope St. John Paul II was one who I consider to have been foundational in my commitment to Christ and desire to follow Him with all my heart.   His promptings to “be not afraid” was precisely what my weak heart needed to hear, especially with regards to being faithful and committed to the Church Christ established on earth and faithfully try, despite my questions and lack of understanding, to follow her teachings.  It was not always easy for me, even back in the day, to swim against the tide of secular society.  It is even more of a challenge for young people today.  We desperately need to hear and proclaim that message now.  Pray for us Pope St. John Paul II. Show us how to be faithful disciples and to build a culture of love and life!

For more info see CCCB


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