JOHN PAUL LEFT MESSAGE FOR DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY
Vatican City, Apr. 03, 2005 (CNA) - A
message by Pope John Paul II for Divine Mercy Sunday, written prior
to his death, was read today at the at the end of the first funeral
mass celebrated for the pontiff.
Archbishop Leonardo Sandri read the
text before the recitation of the Regina Coeli, which during the
Easter season replaces the Angelus.
The feast of Divine Mercy, celebrated
on the first Sunday after Easter, was dear to the pontiff, who
instituted the feast day several years ago
"To all of mankind, who so often
seems lost and dominated by the power of evil, egoism and fear, the
Risen Lord offers as a gift His love, which pardons, reconciles and
opens the soul again to hope,” the Pope had written. “It is a love
that converts hearts and gives peace. How the world needs to
understand and welcome Divine Mercy!”
In his text, the Pope commented on
the Gospel reading in which the Risen Christ appears to the Apostles
and shows them His punctured hands and side. “Those glorious wounds
that He made an incredulous Thomas touch eight days later reveal
God's mercy who ‘so loved the world that He gave His only begotten
Son’,” the Pope’s text read.
"Lord, who with Your death and
Resurrection revealed the Father's love, we believe in You and with
trust we repeat today: Jesus, I trust in You, have mercy on us and
on the entire world," the text continued.
"May the liturgical solemnity of the
Annunciation, which we will celebrate tomorrow encourage us to
contemplate with the eyes of Mary the immense mystery of this
merciful love that bursts forth from the heart of Christ,” he
THE FINAL DAYS OF POPE
JOHN PAUL II
MESSAGE REMAINS ENGRAVED IN PEOPLES HEARTS
VATICAN CITY, APR 3, 2005 (VIS) - At
10.30 today, Divine Mercy Sunday, before hundreds of thousands of
people who filled St Peter's Square, Via della Conciliazione and
adjacent streets, Cardinal Angelo Sodano presided at a Eucharistic
concelebration for the repose of the soul of John Paul II, who died
yesterday evening at 9.37.
In his homily, Cardinal Sodano spoke
of the pain over the loss of "our father and pastor, John Paul II,"
but emphasized that for 26 years he had "always called us to look to
Christ, the only reason for our hope."
"For more than a quarter of a century
he has taken the Gospel of Christian hope to all the squares of the
world, teaching everyone that our death is nothing more than a
passage to our homeland in heaven. There our eternal destiny lies,
where God our Father awaits us."
The cardinal indicated how "this is
our faith, this is the faith of Christians. Our pain is immediately
transformed into an attitude of profound serenity. I too was a
witness to such serenity, standing in prayer before the Holy
Father's bed in his final moments, the serenity of the saints, the
serenity that comes from God."
"As today we weep for the death of
the Pope who has left us, we open our hearts to the vision of our
eternal destiny. ... We know that, though we are sinners, we are
accompanied by the mercy of God the Father who awaits us. This is
the sense of today's Feast of Divine Mercy, established by the dear
departed Pope John Paul II himself, as one of the legacies of his
pontificate, to underline this most consoling aspect of the
"This Sunday, it would be moving to
re-read one of the most beautiful Encyclicals, 'Dives in
misericordia', written in 1980, the third year of his pontificate."
In that document, said the cardinal, John Paul II "invites us to
look to the Father Who is 'merciful and is God of all comfort, who
consoles us in all our afflictions'," and to "Mary, Mother of
Cardinal Sodano highlighted the many
times the Pope has repeated over the years "that mutual relations
between men and between peoples cannot be based only on justice, but
must be perfected by merciful love which is typical of the Christian
message. For this reason John Paul II led the Church of the third
Christian millennium to be a new Good Samaritan on the paths of the
world, on the roads of a world still shaken by fratricidal wars. In
this way, the Pope became the cantor of the civilization of love,
seeing in that term one of the most beautiful definitions of
'Christian civilization.' Yes, Christian civilization is the
civilization of love, radically different from those civilizations
of hatred which, in the 20th century, were the consequence of so
May the Pope, "from heaven, watch
over us always and help us to 'cross that threshold of hope' about
which he spoke to us so much. May this his message always remain
engraved in the hearts of the men and women of today. John Paul II
repeats once more the words of Christ: 'the Son of Man came into the
world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved
Cardinal Sodano recalled that John
Paul II "spread this Gospel of hope in the world, calling all the
Church to embrace the men and women of today, to raise them up with
redeeming love. Let it be our task to take up the message of he who
has left us and bring it to fruit for the salvation of the world."
"And to our unforgettable Father," he
concluded, "we say with the words of the liturgy: 'May the angels
lead you to Paradise! In Paradisum deducant te Angeli!' May a joyous
chorus welcome you and lead you to the Holy City, the heavenly
Jerusalem, that you may find eternal rest. Amen!"