This weekend, Saturday, October 22nd, is the feast day of my favorite saint Pope John Paul II. I have long been fascinated by the lives of the saints all the way back to high school, and I remember even years ago saying that as soon as John Paul II dies he will automatically be my favorite saint.
The influence he has had in my life is hard to measure, and that is from before I had the opportunity to meet him, which I did on seven different occasions. If it were not for his example, I am not sure I would be a priest today. He made that much of an impact on me.
He was the preeminent priest role model for my generation. I remember when I was in the seminary one of the priests on staff made the comment that if a novelist tried to invent the character of John Paul II, it wouldn’t be believable. His story growing up under Nazi occupation and then Communist rule through most of his life, only to be thrust into the papacy, followed by having one of the most instrumental roles in bringing the Iron Curtain down without the shedding of blood: his life is almost beyond believable.
In the case of this great saint, we certainly see God inspiring the right person at the right time in history for his greater purposes.
St. John Paul II, pray for us. –Father Rich