The item featured here is actually from Pope John Paul’s visit to Manitoba in 1984. We are using it, because it is from a different visit of the Pope to Canada–at a time when he was much younger and healthier than he was at his last World Youth Day event, which, during his papacy, drew millions of young people to his side.
A Commentary on the Featured Item: The Ciborium Used at a Papal Mass in Manitoba 1984
One of the defining characteristics of John Paul II’s pontificate, even in years to come, will be his travel. He will be remembered the most for that. We have talked about his travels to Poland, but additionally he traveled more than any other pope by far, probably more than all of them put together. He made over 100 trips outside of Italy. In fact, if I remember correctly, he spent over three years outside of the Vatican in a papacy of 26 ½ years.
This item is a ciborium that was used by concelebrating priests during one of his Masses in 1984 in Manitoba. The hosts that were in here? You know, we talk about the Mass as being central to everything we are as Catholics? The hosts that were in here would have been consecrated by Saint John Paul the Great and concelebrated with many priests. So this is a ciborium that would have been used at that Mass in 1984 when he traveled to Manitoba.
For me, personally, there’s a connection, because my grandmother went to that, so it’s neat to have that personal connection.
I love the connection these items have with the Lord and with the Eucharist, and the fact that the Holy Father consecrated the Hosts that were received from this ciborium is a beautiful thing.
And I think of being a shepherd, being a priest myself, but the Holy Father being the shepherd of the universal church, and our goal is to bring Christ to others, and this is a great example for me of the reality that John Paul II brought the Lord and the Eucharist to the ends of the earth. He went virtually everywhere, even to Manitoba—with all due respect, that’s to the ends of the earth in many ways.
I personally had the experience of concelebrating Mass many times with John Paul–three times at his private chapel, and those are memories that I hold dear. Other times were at beatifications, world youth days, and in Saint Louis. So early in my priesthood I was able to concelebrate many times with this man who was my hero, which is so incredible to even think about.
The YouTube presented with this item commemorates World Youth Day Toronto, 2002, his last one. It was made at the time of the 10th anniversary in 2012. A much older John Paul is greeted with joy by thousands of his admiring young friends.
A total of nineteen official World Youth Days, and two earlier gatherings before the events became “official” in 1985, brought John Paul into contact with literally millions of young people.
Saint John Paul, pray for us!