Vatican journalists remember John Paul II in new book

Giovanni Paolo II, raccontato da chi lo ha ‘raccontato’”, edited by Angela Ambrogetti and Raffaele Iaria.

A newly published book gathers the memories of 13 journalists and communications specialists about John Paul II, including those of Fr. Giorgio Costantino, spokesman of the Synod of Bishops.

“Giovanni Paolo II, raccontato da chi lo ha ‘raccontato’”, or “John Paul II, as reported by those who ‘reported’ him”, edited by Angela Ambrogetti and Raffaele Iaria and published by Tau Editrice, discusses the 26-year pontificate of Bl. John Paul II, who will be canonized together with John XXIII April 27.

Among the contributors are Emanuele Roncalli, Gian Franco Svidercoschi, and Fr. Costantino, who has been the Synod of Bishops’ representative since 1990.

Fr. Costantino’s chapter shares stories of Bl. John Paul II’s commitment to the synod, which he knew “very well, as he had taken part in each of the assemblies except the first one, in 1967.”

“He had in fact been invited to that assembly,” Fr. Costantino wrote, “but he chose not to take part, out of solidarity with Cardinal Wyszynski, Primate of Poland, whom the (communist) Polish authorities denied a visa to go to Rome.”

This story, he recounted, was told “during a dinner the Pope shared with spokesmen of various languages and the then-director of the Holy See press office, Joaquin Navarro Valls.”

Bl. John Paul II often shared his views during meals, which were an occasion for informal exchanges with those working at the Synod of Bishops.

“At the final lunch of the 1990 Synod of Bishops, John Paul II spoke off the cuff, stressing that he ‘noted an increasing spirituality and maturity. My hopes have not been vain. This tool of the collegiality of bishops is efficient’”, recounted Fr. Costantino.

According to Fr. Costantino, the late Pope held the synod to express apostolic tradition as well as a collegial and primatial structure.

He also related that Bl. John Paul II would lunch with the spokesmen, “asking for information about each Vaticanista. He showed that he knew both their faces and names, and that he read their articles. It was an always-open window to the world.”


Things beyond our imagination

Father Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

Recently, at an academic dinner, I was sitting across the table from a nuclear scientist. At one point, I asked him this question: Do you believe that there’s human life on other planets? His answer surprised me: “As a scientist, no, I don’t believe there’s human life on another planet.


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October 4, 2015

  • Sunday, October 4

    Gerard Thomas Straub Book Signing, 9 a.m.- 1p.m., Holy Family Bookstore, 1519 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena. Straub will discuss his newly re-released book, “The Sun and Moon Over Assisi.” (626) 403-6133.

    St. Kateri Mass, 11 a.m., St. Marcellinus Church, 2349 Strong Ave., Commerce. Everyone is welcome to honor and follow in the footsteps of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. Potluck and raffle immediately following – bring a favorite dish to share!

    Faith Support on Our Cancer Journey, 2-4 p.m., Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes. This afternoon of reflection will explore ways for those struggling with cancer can nurture their spirits and seek divine guidance and support. $25 ($20 if paid in full by September 25). (310) 377-4867.

    “Come and See” Vocation Event, 2-7 p.m., Heart of Jesus Retreat Center, 2927 S Greenville St., Santa Ana. Single women of high school and college age are invited by Sacred Heart Sisters to learn more about religious life. Dinner will be provided. RSVP by Oct. 3 at (714) 557-4583 or 

    Once Upon a Time: Stories to Awaken the Mysteries of the Heart, 3-5 p.m., Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes. $25. (310) 377-4867.

    Rosary and Mass for Life, Rosary: 4:30 p.m., Mass: 5 p.m., St. Cornelius Church, 5500 E Wardlow Rd., Long Beach. Contact Sylvia Aimerito (562) 429-1965.

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