Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
3 May 2011
The city of Rome is bursting with activity just a few hours before the beatification of John Paul II, remembering some of the most important moments of his life. The vigil is being held at the Circus Maximus, where many Christians were actually killed in Roman times, but it's now filled with people who braved the weather to remember the Polish pope.
The most emotional moments came from the testimonies that remembered the pope. The first speaker was the former director of the Holy See's press office who was visibly moved during the ceremony. He spent many hours with the pope and was with him during his last moments.
Former spokesman for John Paul II
"Today I feel the same as I did a few minutes after his death. A big thank you to this person, to this pope, who always said yes to God in his life, to everything that God asked, which was not a small amount. Thank you John Paul II for the masterpiece, which with the help of God, you have made with your life."
Sister Marie Simon Pierre did not personally know John Paul II, but he nonetheless changed her life. She was suddenly cured of Parkinson's disease by the intercession of the pope.
Cured by miracle of John Paul II
"I've been left with a great impression from my experience participating in the beatification of John Paul II and to be able to give my testimony here today, before all of you."
The last to speak was the pope's personal secretary who served him throughout his pontificate. Cardinal Dziwisz traveled with John Paul on his 104 international trips after the attack against him. Benedict XVI named Dziwisz Archbishop of Krakow and was later in charge of the beatification process for his friend and companion.
Card. Stanislaw Dziwisz
Former secretary of Pope John Paul II
"At first everyone said, he is a Polish pope. Little by little they have begun to call him 'our pope'. And beginning tomorrow from the whole world, Christians and non Christians, because he was friends with everyone, he surpassed all boundaries, not just the Berlin Wall, but all borders, starting tomorrow he will be called Blessed John Paul II."
The vigil ended with the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, which was introduced by John Paul II in 2002. With them, the pope wanted to review the life of Jesus through the eyes of Mary. The prayer was connected via satellite with the sanctuaries in Krakow, Tanzania, Lebanon, Mexico and Fatima, all visited by the pope.
Before concluding the meeting, Benedict XVI addressed the crowd through a video message. It was an emotional reunion for many that prepared the people from around the world who have traveled to Rome to experience first hand the beatification of John Paul II.