Archbishop Chaput recalls humanity, dynamism of John Paul II

Pope John Paul II.

In a recent interview with an Italian daily, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia discussed his memories of St. John Paul II, with whom he worked as a bishop from 1988 to 2005.

“I have vivid memories of my ad limina visits with John Paul II … especially the first one in 1988. John Paul was extraordinarily kind,” Archbishop Chaput told La Stampa in an interview published April 30.

“He joked gently with me and the other bishops of my region that I was much too young to be a bishop, although we both knew that I was actually five years older than he was when he was raised to the episcopacy.”

At the time, Archbishop Chaput was 43, and had just been made Bishop of Rapid City, S.D.; the Pope, in turn, had been consecrated as an auxiliary of the Krakow archdiocese in 1958 when he was 38 years old.

St. John Paul II was “keenly interested and engaged in talking about the life of the Church in the United States,” Archbishop Chaput said. “I had four ad limina visits with John Paul II, and each one was a privileged moment, not simply because he was pope, but because of the humanity and goodness he brought to his ministry.”

“No one who met him can ever forget him.”

John Paul II was canonized April 27, and Archbishop Chaput reflected that he had achieved so much during his pontificate “that we tend to forget the scope of his impact.”

Noting that while most remember his international travels, the archbishop recounted a litany of the saint’s other accomplishments: prolific writing; building relations with Jews, Orthodox, and Protestants; renewal of Catholic identity; support of new ecclesial movements; profound and wide-ranging teachings; and a commitment to the dignity of the human person.

In 1993, while still Bishop of Rapid City, Chaput attended Denver’s World Youth Day with St. John Paul II.

“I remember his astonishing dynamism and humor in Denver. The crowds were huge, but they didn't tire him. They did the opposite – they gave him energy, and young people seemed to make him younger by their presence. Young people knew, instinctively, that John Paul loved them, and they responded to him enthusiastically.”

Four years later, John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of Denver, where he served until 2011.

According to Archbishop Chaput, “What John Paul proved is that young people thrive on being loved and challenged in an encouraging way. Even as an old man struggling with illness, young people flocked to him. The young are hungry for a sense of meaning, a mission that they can accomplish with their lives.”

“John Paul II imprinted a spirit of hope on their hearts, which is why he was so effective at changing and ennobling young lives.”


Voices

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

Events

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February 13, 2016

  • Saturday, February 13

    World Day of the Sick Mass, Mass and Anointing of the Sick, 12:30 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,  555 W Temple St, Los Angeles. Archbishop Gomez presiding with other bishops and priests. Special section designated for those in wheelchairs with volunteers available to help. Limited parking available for $8. Carpooling is encouraged. For more info: Chuck Huebner at cjhuebner @gmail.com or Jim LoCoco at flavialococ0@msn.com.

     

     

    Bosco Tech’s Yurak Memorial Run & Kids’ Fun Run, Check in begins at 8 a.m., Memorial Run at 9 a.m., Fun Run at 10 a.m., Bosco Tech, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead. Race registration is $35 per person. For school groups of 10 or more, the cost is $30. To register online, go to www.boscotech.edu/events or www.yurak.eventbrite.com; same-day registration available at check-in table. Included: racing fees, finisher medal, goodie bag and BBQ lunch. Plaques will be awarded to the top five male and female runners and to the fastest runner under 18.All proceeds to benefit Bosco Tech’s Yurak Athletic Center (YAC). 

     

    Cabrini Literary Guild “Sweetheart Bingo” Meeting, Sat., Feb.13 at Oakmont Country Club, 3100 Country Club Drive, Glendale. Meeting starts at 11 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. ($30/person), and bingo social at 1 p.m. Bingo cards are $5 each, or $20 for five cards. For reservations, call (818) 790-3485.

     

    Footprints: Making Tracks for Neighbors in Need, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Bishop Amat High School track, 14301 Fairgrove Ave., La Puente. Catholic Charities San Gabriel Region will present this annual walk/run fundraiser to increase awareness about poverty, hunger and homelessness in the San Gabriel Region. Proceeds benefit those lacking basic needs, such as food, clothing, transportation and shelter. This is a come anytime, leave anytime event, with the first lap around the track to be led by Bishop David O'Connell. For more information, visit lentenfootprints.yolasite.com or contact Mary Romero at (213) 251-3582 or mromero@ccharities.org.

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