The following commentary is from the EWTN series, The Papacy: A Living History, The Papal Artifacts Collection of Father Richard Kunst. It is from the first episode of Season 2: The Canonization of Pope John Paul the Great. A DVD of Season 2 will be available from EWTN in 2015.
The commentary provided here is a compilation of the conversation between Father Richard Kunst, the Papal Artifacts’ Expert, and his co-host, Father Ryan Moravitz.
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 (Father Moravitz) 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 (Father Kunst) 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.