John Paul II: A Saint for Canada

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I once had a teacher who knew exactly how to keep her students focused during the day. She promised us that if we were very good, she would read us a few pages from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. She would only have to give the gentlest reminder that we would not have time for The Hobbit and there would be a swift end to our cavorting and carrying-on. As you can imagine, she had us eating out of her hand.

My love for a great story has continued, and I’ve found that the best stories are always those “based on a true story.” At Salt + Light we have a storytelling ritual, you could say, and Fr. Thomas Rosica is one of the best storytellers I know. Whenever Fr. Rosica returns to the office from a trip, he gathers everyone to celebrate Mass, and following that it’s time for our meeting around the conference table. After we have prayed and he has given us all a little token from his travels -usually a prayer card, a spiritual booklet, or some chocolates- he settles down to tell us about everything that happened.  As I said, Fr. Tom Rosica is a masterful storyteller. By the time the meeting has concluded, we feel as if we have lived through it all – the highs and the lows: the lost luggage, the inevitable poor internet connection fiascos, the exceptional encounters, the developments and the messages of encouragement.

My favourite stories, however, are the ones where he tells us of his encounters with Pope John Paul II. These stories are an incredible source of insight.  Sure, there’s something to be learned from reading great encyclicals, but to know a person firsthand and to get a sense of who he was and why he did what he did – this can only be imparted through personal experience; anything else simply doesn’t have the same impact. Moreover, Fr. Rosica’s stories are always full of meaning. Significant dates in history have moods and feelings attached to them, and there’s always a deep sense of what these things mean for us and for the world. As a scripture scholar, Fr. Rosica’s biblical imagination imbues his commentary on events with a profound love of scriptural images and also a great sense of humour.

Not everyone has the opportunity to listen to these stories firsthand, but you will certainly feel as if you are sitting around the Salt + Light conference table when you pick up the new release  John Paul II, A Saint for Canada. It’s a short book that can be read at a leisurely pace in a few hours. Filled with Fr. Rosica’s personal reflections on Pope John Paul II,  John Paul II, A Saint for Canada is a delight that will leave you with a deep appreciation for this saint and what he means for us in Canada.

To get a taste of what you can expect, you’re invited to watch our latest Catholic FOCUS featuring John Paul II.

Photo description: Father Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, is pictured reading in a kayak in this photo dated from 1955. Three years later, he was on the water with friends when he learned he had been called to Warsaw for the announcement that he was to be made a bishop. He was canonized on April 27 with Pope John XXIII. (CNS photo)

 

Pope John Paul II – a legacy of holiness

Pope John Paul II was in many respects a pope of firsts: the first pope to visit the White House, the first pope to visit Cuba, and the most widely traveled Pope in history. As one of the longest reigning popes in the history of the Church, his influence will be felt for generations. Join host Cheridan Sanders as she speaks with Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB about the life and times of Saint Pope John Paul II in this episode of Catholic Focus.

CROWD CHEERS POPE IN POZNAN, POLAND

Celebrating Pope Paul VI

Pope Paul VI carried on ceremonial throne during closing liturgy of Second Vatican Council in St. Peter's Square at Vatican

Pope Paul VI is carried on the “sedia gestatoria,” a ceremonial throne, during the closing liturgy of the Second Vatican Council in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Dec. 8,1965. Pope Francis will beatify Pope Paul today on Oct. 19 during the closing Mass of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family. The miracle needed for Pope Paul’s beatification involved the birth of a healthy baby to a mother in California after doctors had said both lives were at risk. (CNS photo/Giancarlo Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo)

Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras attend prayer service in Jerusalem in January 1964

Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras attend a prayer service in Jerusalem in January 1964. (CNS photo/Giancarlo Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo) 

Pope Paul VI gives blessing before leaving for Istanbul in 1967

Pope Paul VI offers a blessing at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport before boarding a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, in 1967. 

To learn more about the Second Vatican Council, religious liberty, and ecumenism watch The Church Alive.

Pope Paul VI presides over a meeting of the Second Vatican Council

POPE PAUL VI PRESIDES OVER MEETING OF SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL IN 1963

Pope Paul VI presides over a meeting of the Second Vatican Council in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in 1963. (CNS photo/Catholic Press Photo) 

To learn more about the Second Vatican Council watch The Church Alive series.

Who was Paul VI and what was his legacy?


This weekend we’ll celebrate the conclusion of the 2014 Synod on the Family and the beatification of the Pope Paul VI. The Church that we know today is deeply shaped by the Second Vatican Council and is in many ways a reflection of Paul VI’s pontificate. Watch this short video tribute to the ‘Pilgrim Pope’ to learn about his pontificate.

To learn more about Paul VI and his contribution to the Second Vatican Council, watch The Church Alive.

Paul VI during session of Second Vatican Council


Pope Paul VI makes his way past bishops during session of Second Vatican Council
Pope Paul VI makes his way past bishops during a session of the Second Vatican Council in 1964. Pope Paul, who led the church from 1963 until his death in 1978, will be beatified on October 19, 2014. (CNS file photo) 

To find out more about the Second Vatican Council watch The Church Alive.

 

Inside the Synod (Day 9) – completion of small group discussions

Tonight on Inside the Synod – Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila share their experiences and provide context as bishops prepare the final summary document for the Synod on the Family.

Archbishop Karol Wojtyla receives the red biretta from Pope Paul VI


Archbishop Karol Wojtyla receives the cardinal's red biretta from Pope Paul VI in 1967
Archbishop Karol Wojtyla of Krakow, Poland, receives the cardinal’s red biretta from Pope Paul VI in the Sistine Chapel June 26, 1967. Pope Paul, who led the church from 1963 until his death in 1978, will be beatified on October 19, 2014. (CNS file photo)

To find out more about Paul VI’s contribution to the Second Vatican Council watch The Church Alive series.

Inside the Synod – bishops meet in small language groups to discuss working document

Tonight on Inside the Synod the work of the small language groups is underway as bishops discuss the midterm report and work towards next week’s summary document. Sebastian Gomes brings us the latest from today’s press briefing and Catholic journalists weigh in on their responsibility when it comes to disseminating the message of the synod.

Pope Paul VI visits the Church of St. Leo the Great, 1968

File photo of Pope Paul VI greeting girl during Rome parish visit in 1968

Pope Paul VI greets a girl as he visits the Church of St. Leo the Great in Rome March 31, 1968. Pope Francis will beatify Pope Paul Oct. 19 during the closing Mass of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family. (CNS photo/Giancarlo Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo)

To learn more about the Pope Paul VI and the Second Vatican Council, watch The Church Alive series.