A Message from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Dean of the College of Cardinals, on April 8, 2005
In these twenty-five years as Vicar of Jesus Christ in the apostolic succession, you have tirelessly traveled the world, not only to bring to men and women the Gospel of the love of God made flesh in Jesus Christ, beyond all geographical boundaries; you have also crossed the continents of the spirit, often far from one another and set against each other, to bring strangers close, to make the distant friends, and to make room in the world for the peace of Christ. You have spoken to young and old, to the rich and the poor, the powerful and the humble–after the example of Jesus Christ–and you have always shown special love for the poor and defenseless, bringing to all a spark of God’s truth and love. You have proclaimed God’s will fearlessly, even when it was in opposition to what people thought and desired. Like the Apostle Paul, you can say that you have never sought to flatter with words nor to be honored by mankind, but have watched over God’s children as a mother. Like Paul, you too felt drawn to people and wanted to help them share not only in the Gospel but also in your own life. You have undergone criticism and insults, arousing, however, gratitude and love, and causing the walls of hatred and unfamiliarity to crumble. —
A Reliquary Containing the Blood of Pope St. John Paul II
In May of 1981 papal travel protocol was changed with the assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II. Because of the Pope’s rare blood type there was concern of a shortage for his needs when he lost so much blood from the gunshot wounds.
After he healed his doctors decided to draw his own blood so as always to have a fresh supply in case there was another emergency. So after 1981 everywhere the pope traveled so did a few pints of his own blood just in case. After his death these spare pints of his blood became relics of a saint.
The Church has allowed distribution of some of his blood to various churches and dioceses throughout the world for veneration. I am humbled to have been chosen to received a relic of Saint John Paul’s blood through the assistance of my friend, Archbishop Schnurr of Cincinnati. —Father Richard Kunst
Papal Artifacts extends our gratitude to Archbishop Schnurr and to Father Richard Kunst for their great devotion to this modern day saint and to their abilities to bring him home to us.
Father Richard Kunst’s Homily at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary Upon the Death of Pope John Paul II
Reigned 26 years, 5 months, 17 days
Traveled 775,231 miles, or 30 times around the earth
146 trips in Italy, 104 abroad
Visited 129 countries
Spent 822 days or 2 ¼ years outside the Vatican
Gave more than 20,000 addresses totaling 100,000 pages
Issued more than 100 major documents
Created 1,338 saints, more than all his predecessors in the last four centuries combined
Appointed 231 Cardinals
Met with 1,590 heads of state
Held more than 1,160 general audiences in the Vatican
Was seen live by more people than anyone who ever lived.
John Paul II? No, John Paul the Great! But he will not be known as “the Great” because of impressive statistics, but because of the faithful way he imitated the one who’s Vicar he was. John Paul II always pointed to Christ.
He was convicted that Jesus Christ was the answer to the question in every human life. Very simply, this is why he was the champion of the culture of life. Everybody was made in the image of God, so everybody has a right to life.
On October 8, 1978 days before entering the conclave that would elect him, Cardinal Wojtyla spoke some very prophetic words, “Our Lord conversing with Peter at the beginning of the first pontificate asked about nothing except love: Peter do you love me? This is the only question which we are to examine every pontificate.” This is the only question which we are to examine every pontificate. Do you love me?
I for my part am not amazed at the sea of humanity now converging on Rome. This is not some world wide personality cult because the personality is dead. The people waiting in line for 18 hours are not doing it to see a corpse, they are doing it to see Christ. Even in death John Paul is leading the world to God.