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.
Every five years a bishop will go and meet with the Holy Father, and it’s called the ad limina visit. The purpose is to give the status of the diocese that he is pastor of. And in 1988, one of our former bishops, Bishop Brom, now the retired bishop of San Diego, had an ad limina visit with Pope John Paul, and the Holy Father gave him this Vulgate (Latin) version of the bible, which is nice, yes, but to get a copy of the word of God from the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ, (which is, we say, the “voice of Christ”) is very significant. Any type of gift like that from a pope is significant but especially a copy of the bible.
And, Father Rich, do you stay proficient in Latin by reading this?!
I don’t! I keep up on my Latin through other means, but I read my bible in English!
Father Rich, I remember you speaking of the ad limina visit when Bishop Brom received this. On another occasion you were in Rome with Archbishop Schnurr, and we had an opportunity to meet with St. John Paul the Great.
Yes, that was in December of 2004, just a few months before he died.
And we had the opportunity to actually meet him in his office. I (Father Moravitz) think back on that occasion, and I look at the pictures, and I think of you celebrating Mass with him in his private chapel, and I think of the different opportunities we personally have had to encounter him. It’s overwhelming to know he is going to be canonized, declared a saint in the history of the Church, and we were able to encounter him in this life in such a personal, incredible way.
(Father Kunst) And the nice thing for both of us is that we both went to the beatification and now are both going to the canonization. And to be able to go to the canonization of someone you’ve met? How often does that happen? How many people get that opportunity? And also for Pope Francis and for Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, to be there and to celebrate for someone they loved dearly and with whom they share in a brotherhood. It’s an incredible opportunity for the life of the Church in the world.
And Poland! All of Poland will be there.
Poland will be drained! I was told by someone who works at the Vatican Poland has reserved every bus in the country to come to Rome the week of the canonizations.
Another exciting thing about the canonizations is that if his health is good Pope Emeritus Benedict will be there. Talk about an historical occasion.
Papal Artifacts gratefully acknowledges the contributions of Bishop Robert Brom to the Collection.