Pope’s sudden resignation sends shockwaves through Church

By Philip Pullella | Reuters February 12, 2013


VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Benedict stunned the Roman Catholic Church on Monday when he announced he would stand down, the first pope to do so in 700 years, saying he no longer had the mental and physical strength to carry on.

Church officials tried to relay a climate of calm confidence in the running of a 2,000-year-old institution, but the decision could lead to uncertainty in a Church already besieged by scandal for covering up sexual abuse of children by priests.
The soft-spoken German, who always maintained that he never wanted to be pope, was an uncompromising conservative on social and theological issues, fighting what he regarded as the increasing secularisation of society.

It remains to be seen whether his successor will continue such battles or do more to bend with the times.
Despite his firm opposition to tolerance of homosexual acts, his eight year reign saw gay marriage accepted in many countries. He has staunchly resisted allowing women to be ordained as priests, and opposed embryonic stem cell research, although he retreated slightly from the position that condoms could never be used to fight AIDS.

He repeatedly apologised for the Church’s failure to root out child abuse by priests, but critics said he did too little and the efforts failed to stop a rapid decline in Church attendance in the West, especially in his native Europe.

In addition to child sexual abuse crises, his papacy saw the Church rocked by Muslim anger after he compared Islam to violence. Jews were upset over rehabilitation of a Holocaust denier. During a scandal over the Church’s business dealings, his butler was accused of leaking his private papers.
In an announcement read to cardinals in Latin, the universal language of the Church, the 85-year-old said: “Well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of St Peter …

“As from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours (1900 GMT) the See of Rome, the See of St. Peter will be vacant and a conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.”
For interactive timeline http://link.reuters.com/xuk85t

Pope Benedict to stand down
Pope Benedict XVI will step down as head of the Catholic Church on February 28. Travis Brecher reports.

Benedict is expected to go into isolation for at least a while after his resignation. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Benedict did not intend to influence the decision of the cardinals in a secret conclave to elect a successor.

A new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics could be elected as soon as Palm Sunday, on March 24, and be ready to take over by Easter a week later, Lombardi said.

Several popes in the past, including Benedict’s predecessor John Paul, have refrained from stepping down over their health, because of the division that could be caused by having an “ex-pope” and a reigning pope alive at the same time.

Lombardi said the pope did not fear a possible “schism”, with Catholics owing allegiances to a past and present pope in case of differences on Church teachings.

He indicated the complex machinery of the process to elect a new pope would move quickly because the Vatican would not have to wait until after the elaborate funeral services for a pope.

It is not clear if Benedict will have a public life after he resigns. Lombardi said Benedict would first go to the papal summer residence south of Rome and then move into a cloistered convent inside the Vatican walls.

The resignation means that cardinals from around the world will begin arriving in Rome in March and after preliminary meetings, lock themselves in a secret conclave and elect the new pope from among themselves in votes in the Sistine Chapel.

There has been growing pressure on the Church for it to choose a pope from the developing world to better reflect where most Catholics live and where the Church is growing.

“It could be time for a black pope, or a yellow one, or a red one, or a Latin American,” said Guatemala’s Archbishop Oscar Julio Vian Morales.

The cardinals may also want a younger man. John Paul was 58 when he was elected in 1978. Benedict was 20 years older.

“We have had two intellectuals in a row, two academics, perhaps it is time for a diplomat,” said Father Tom Reese, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. “Rather than electing the smartest man in the room, they should elect the man who will listen to all the other smart people in the Church.”

Liberals have already begun calling for a pope that would be more open to reform.

“The current system remains an ‘old boy’s club’ and does not allow for women’s voices to participate in the decision of the next leader of our Church,” said the Women’s Ordination Conference, a group that wants women to be able to be priests.

The last pope to resign willingly was Celestine V in 1294 after reigning for only five months, his resignation was known as “the great refusal” and was condemned by the poet Dante in the “Divine Comedy”. Gregory XII reluctantly abdicated in 1415 to end a dispute with a rival claimant to the papacy.

Lombardi said Benedict’s stepping aside showed “great courage”. He ruled out any specific illness or depression and said the decision was made in the last few months “without outside pressure”. But the decision was not without controversy.

“This is disconcerting, he is leaving his flock,” said Alessandra Mussolini, a parliamentarian who is granddaughter of Italy’s wartime dictator. “The pope is not any man. He is the vicar of Christ. He should stay on to the end, go ahead and bear his cross to the end. This is a huge sign of world destabilisation that will weaken the Church.”

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, secretary to the late Pope John Paul, said the former pope had stayed on despite failing health for the last decade of his life as he believed “you cannot come down from the cross.”

While the pope had slowed down recently – he started using a cane and a wheeled platform to take him up the long aisle in St Peter’s Square – he had given no hint recently that he was considering such a dramatic decision.

Elected in 2005 to succeed the enormously popular John Paul, Benedict never appeared to feel comfortable in the job.

In his announcement, the pope told the cardinals that in order to govern “… both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.”

Before he was elected pope, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was known as “God’s rottweiler” for his stern stand on theological issues. After a few months, he showed a milder side but he never drew the kind of adulation that had marked the 27-year papacy of his predecessor John Paul.

U.S. President Barack Obama extended prayers to Benedict and best wishes to those who would choose his successor.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the pope’s decision must be respected if he feels he is too weak to carry out his duties. British Prime Minister David Cameron said: “He will be missed as a spiritual leader to millions.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the worldwide Anglican communion, said he had learned of the pope’s decision with a heavy heart but complete understanding.


Elected to the papacy on April 19, 2005, Benedict ruled over a slower-paced, more cerebral and less impulsive Vatican.

But while conservatives cheered him for trying to reaffirm traditional Catholic identity, his critics accused him of turning back the clock on reforms by nearly half a century and hurting dialogue with Muslims, Jews and other Christians.

After appearing uncomfortable in the limelight at the start, he began feeling at home with his new job and showed that he intended to be pope in his way.

Despite great reverence for his charismatic, globe-trotting predecessor — whom he put on the fast track to sainthood and whom he beatified in 2011 — aides said he was determined not to change his quiet manner to imitate John Paul’s style.

A quiet, professorial type who relaxed by playing the piano, he showed the gentle side of a man who was the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer for nearly a quarter of a century.

The first German pope for some 1,000 years and the second non-Italian in a row, he travelled regularly, making about four foreign trips a year, but never managed to draw the oceanic crowds of his predecessor.
The child abuse scandals hounded most of his papacy. He ordered an official inquiry into abuse in Ireland, which led to the resignation of several bishops.

Scandal from a source much closer to home hit in 2012 when the pontiff’s butler, responsible for dressing him and bringing him meals, was found to be the source of leaked documents alleging corruption in the Vatican’s business dealings.

Benedict confronted his own country’s past when he visited the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. Calling himself “a son of Germany”, he prayed and asked why God was silent when 1.5 million victims, most of them Jews, were killed there.

Ratzinger served in the Hitler Youth during World War Two when membership was compulsory. He was never a member of the Nazi party and his family opposed Adolf Hitler’s regime. (Additional reporting by James Mackenzie, Barry Moody, Cristiano Corvino, Alexandra Hudson in Berlin, and Dagamara Leszkowixa in Poland; Editing by Peter Graff)


Move on and move up!

NEW BEGINNINGS By Bum D. Tenorio, Jr. (The Philippine Star) April 08, 2012

Easter Sunday reminds us of resurrection and redemption. In its most biblical sense, it tells the Christian world that the sins of the faithful had been paid for by Jesus when, without an iota of sin, He died on the cross for us.

From death to resurrection, Jesus moved on. And He moved up. But before moving up, He had to experience first heartaches — from the people He wanted to serve, the people He trusted, the people He loved. Despite the betrayal done unto Him, He was able to forgive. To this day, He continues to forgive.

Having said that in my introduction, I will not continue anymore to make this a religious article. Instead, allow me to turn this into a piece about romance or the lack of it — with heartbreaks as my handle. But surely, in the end of this piece, I will assert that “moving on and moving up,” as shown by Jesus 2,000 years ago, are the cure to many a love-related heartache we experience.

Broken-heartedness, according to my doctor friend, is an ailment. Because many people experience it, a heartache is as common as the flu yet it can be as fatal as any life-threatening disease. Yes, doctors will tell you, some people die of being brokenhearted.

A few people I know can just snap out of broken-heartedness that easily. Others, however, ruminate in the abyss of loneliness for years. Though many of these brokenhearted people can function in their daily life, they still carry inside them that heartache. Some carry the pain for years; others, for life.

Why do people stay brokenhearted for many years? It is because they don’t put a cap to their misery. They have turned into masochists of their pain. They seem to have fallen in love with pain and it has become their friend, their lover. They have become fixated with it that it has become a regular fixture in their emotional mantle. The pain may be caused by an ex-lover but staying with misery is already caused by the self.

So I say: Stop enjoying that drama and get a life before your drama gets your life. Throw to the fires your emotional inventory of past hurts and pains. Why is there a need to put a stop to the drama? Simply because you deserve to resurrect and find beauty in life anew. Prolonged suffering is a disservice to oneself. The person who caused your heartbreak has already moved on. Time to wake up. Wake up!

When do you put a cap to the pain? The best time to know when it’s time to stop flirting with misery is when you discover that you don’t deserve to get hurt anymore. If you’ve been suffering for a long time, say six months, a year or two, the answer is: Now. It’s in giving up that we experience growing up.

Like all suffering, we must come from the vantage point of understanding the root cause of it. It is human nature to be affected by failure and loss of an amorous affair. So, we grieve. It is in mourning that we acknowledge the loss.

We also cry. We engage ourselves in analysis paralysis, trying to fathom why and where we failed. At times, we venture into persecution complex.

We have the conscious effort to get up from the lethargy that keeps us from borrowing further trouble. Yet, we can’t just hack it. So, we allow ourselves to sulk. We imagine things. We replay sweet memories that become bitter the more we remember them.

When the suffering has lasted for years, you owe it to yourself to move on. To move on is to have the conscious effort to let go of hurts and pains. It also entails forgiving the person who hurt you. Moving on also means forgiving yourself.

True healing of oneself begins by putting a cap to your pain, by breaking up from your dalliances with misery, by letting go. And letting go is tantamount to reclaiming self-preservation. It also means letting God.

Like all ethics and etiquettes, moving on and preserving oneself are crafts that can be mustered and mastered by people who want to get out of the crude and rude vicious cycle of falling in and out of love with the people who love them less or who don’t love them at all. These skills are the summation of one’s conscious conviction — albeit peppered and punctured with nerve-wracking and heart-wrenching feelings — to be happy and complete in one’s silence and solitude.

Perhaps it is in this silence and solitude that you can find the balm to your newly recovered heart. Redeem yourself by letting go. Learn how to pick up the pieces of your shattered life. Find a support group or go to the right places where good people congregate. And let the healing begin.

It is in resurrection that we learn the value of redemption. Resurrection is about moving on. So, please rise from the dead void of your heart and move up.

Today is Easter Sunday, you deserve your own resurrection. Even Jesus, I’m sure, will tell you — move on and move up!

My Lenten Season Prayer

As we venerate the sacrifice that God has given to the humankind, it is but proper that we offer our prayers to this very important commemoration. The following prayer is written by Danilo V. Rogayan Jr.

Passion of the Christ by SaviourMachine.

I pray for those people who blame others of their misfortunes. May they learn to accept things as they are. Forgive them oh Lord for they do not know what they are doing!

I pray for those people who are paranoid. May they learn how to weigh things prudently. Only Him who can judge us.

I pray for those people who make fun of the Lenten Season and of the things about God. May they learn how to pay respect and realize that they were here in this world because of Him.

I pray for those people who try their very best to pursue their evil plans and try to degrade and eventually destroy their fellow beings. May they realize that with God, their wicked plans will never never succeed!

I pray for those people who live in insecurities and fail to appreciate what they have. May they realize that what they have is a gift from God and what will they become is their gift to God. May they rejoice not in wickedness but in the blessings of Him!

I pray for those people who are fond of looking only the negative sides and finding the faults of others. May they realize that God created man exceptional of others. May they learn to appreciate their fellows on who they are.

I pray for those people who forget their virtues and values just because of an evil air of influence. May they find in the deepest parts of their hearts the goodness that God has bestowed upon them when they were born.

I pray for those people who make use of their knowledge and skill in doing wicked things. May they realize that God has given them such to proliferate goodness to their fellows and in to the world. Hence, intelligence mustn’t be used to destroy others.

I pray for those people who live in selfishness and egocentrism. May they realize that not all things in life will be theirs and that they must avoid hatred whenever they don’t get something they want. Lord teaches us to live a simple yet worthy life!

I pray for those people who live in pretension, hypocrisy and plasticity. May they be impelled to emulate the Lord’s genuine heart and live on the teachings of truth and faithfulness.

I pray for those people whose eyes were blinded with materialism, covetousness and envy. May their eyes be opened with the benevolence and magnanimity of the Lord!

I pray for those people whose hearts were cloaked with hatred, disgust, bitterness and rancor. May they hearts be cleansed with the goodness and rectitude of the Lord!

We must remember how God sacrificed just to save us from our transgressions. We must follow His teachings and learn to forgive those people who have erred us! Let’s pray for them that they may see path of righteousness!

Let us repent for our sins. We should acknowledge our transgressions not only this Lenten Season but also in each day of our life. Let us follow the path of righteousness and evade the way toward wickedness.

Who is Pope John Paul II?

Famous as The 264th Pope (Bishop of Rome)
Born on 18 May 1920
Born in Wadowice, Poland
Died on 02 April 2005
Nationality Poland
Works & Achievements Served as Pope and Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City for 27 years

John Paul II presided over as the Pope and Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City for almost 27 years. Credited with being the second-longest pontificate till date, His Holiness has too many firsts to his credit. One of the most traveled leaders of the world, Pope John Paul II is considered as one of the most influential leaders of the world. His influence was not restricted to the Catholics across the globe.

Rather, a true world statesman, Pope John Paul II brought changes in the image of the church, across the globe. During his long reign as Pope, he said ‘sorry’ to Jews, Galileo, women, victims of the Inquisition, Muslims slaughtered by the Crusaders and almost everyone who had suffered at the hands of the Catholic Church through the years.


Pope John Paul II, baptized as Karol Józef Wojtyla, was born on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland. His mother died when he was only eight years old and after a couple of years (1932), Karol lost his elder brother as well. During his youth days, Karol enjoyed playing soccer, as a goalie. In the year 1938, he shifted lodgings to Kraków, along with his father. It was here that Karol broadened his horizons of knowledge. Enrolling himself in Jagiellonian University, he learned almost 12 languages and also participated in various theatrical groups, as a playwright.

In 1939, when the Nazi Germans occupied Poland, Karol was amongst the worst hit. His university had closed, leaving him with no choice other than to earn a living by doing petty jobs. His father left for the heaven abode in 1941, leaving him all alone in the world. It was, thence, that he realized his calling for priesthood and started studying in the clandestine underground seminary run by the Archbishop of Kraków, Adam Stefan, Cardinal Sapieha. After surviving an accident with a Geman truck, Karol’s decision to become a priest became all the more firm.

Early Life as a Priest

Ordained as a priest on November 1, 1946, Karol Wojtyła was sent to Rome, at the Pontifical International Athenaeum Angelicum, to study theology. In 1948, after attaining a licentiate and doctorate in sacred theology, he returned to Poland. His first-ever work as a priest was in the village of Niegowić, fifteen miles from Kraków. A year later, Karol relocated to Saint Florian’s parish in Kraków. A teacher of ethics at Jagiellonian University and the Catholic University of Lublin, Karol assembled a group of about 20 young people that eventually expanded to 200 people. These participants met for prayers, philosophical discussions and helping blind and sick people.

It was in the year 1954 that Karol gained his second doctorate, in philosophy. A holder of two doctorates, he started his literary career by writing for the newspaper ‘Tygodnik Powszechny’, also known as Universal Weekly. Herein, he wrote about the contemporary church issues. Karol dealt with issues like war, life under communism and his pastoral responsibilities, as the themes for his poems and plays. He distinguished his literary writings from his religious ones by publishing the former under pseudo names, so that they get recognition on merit and not on his name. It was in 1960 that Karol wrote an influential theological book ‘Love and Responsibility’, a defense of the traditional Church teachings on marriage, from a new philosophical standpoint.

Bishop and Cardinal

It was during his kayaking vacation, in July 1958, that Karol came to know about his nomination for the position of auxiliary bishop of Kraków. Agreeing to serve as auxiliary to Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak, he was consecrated to the Episcopate on September 28, 1958. With this, he became the youngest bishop in Poland. After the death of Baziak, Bishop Karol was elected as Vicar Capitular, or temporary administrator, of the Archdiocese. Becoming a Bishop, henceforth, he participated in the Second Vatican Council.

Bishop Karol also contributed in the Decree on Religious Freedom (in Latin, Dignitatis Humanae) and the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes). He took part in the assemblies of Synod of Bishops. Admiring his worthy contributions and laudable role as a temporary administrator, Pope Paul VI appointed him as the Archbishop of Kraków, on December 1963. Archbishop Karol was promoted to the Sacred College of Cardinals, on June 26, 1967. Later on, he became instrumental in formulating the encyclical Humanae Vitae, which dealt with sensitive issues of abortion and artificial birth control.


Following the death of Pope Paul VI, Albino Luciani was appointed as the next Pope – Pope John Paul I. However, the latter left for the heaven abode after only 33 days of his papacy, thereby causing another conclave of the cardinals. Cardinal Giuseppe Siri and Cardinal Giovanni Benelli were the two main contenders for the post. However, observing the scale of their opposition, Cardinal Franz König, Archbishop of Vienna, individually suggested Karol, the Polish Cardinal, as a compromise candidate.

Surprisingly, Cardinal Karol won the election on the eighth ballot on the second day. According to the Italian press, he received 99 votes, from the 111 participating electors. With this, Cardinal Karol Józef Wojtyła succeeded Pope John Paul I and became Pope John Paul II. He was the youngest Pope to be elected, in the history of Rome, since Pope Pius IX (1846), who was 54 years old. Becoming the 264th Pope, Pope John Paul II received his simplified Papal inauguration ceremony on October 22, 1978, dispensing with the traditional Papal coronation, just like his immediate predecessor.

Pastoral Trips

Pope John Paul II visited as many as129 countries as the Bishop of Rome. Attracting large crowds everywhere he went, he became one of the largest-traveled Popes. The number of trips he made to foreign countries was more than that of all his predecessors, put together. Probably, this is the reason why Pope John Paul II was also given the title of the ‘Pilgrim Pope’. Though amongst the 129 countries, there were many countries that had been visited by his predecessors; he is entitled with a lot of firsts. Pope John Paul II was the first Pope ever to visit Mexico, Cuba and Ireland, a few names amongst his long list.

Pope John Paul II was also the first pope to travel to the United Kingdom (1982), Egypt and Jerusalem (2000). His Holiness also became the first Catholic Pope to visit and pray in an Islamic mosque (Umayyad Mosque) in Damascus, Syria (2001). There, he also visited Umayyad Mosque, where John the Baptist is believed to be interred. Pope John Paul II’s visit to Luneta Park, Manila, (Philippines) attracted probably the largest single gathering in Christian history. The visit took place on 15th January 1995, during the X World Youth Day. In 2001, this Servant of God also traveled to Kazakhstan, to celebrate 1,700 years of Christianity.

Relationship With Other Religions

Anglicanism (Church of England)

  • Preached in Canterbury Cathedral during his visit to Britain
  • Issued a Pastoral Provision, allowing married former Episcopal priests to become Catholic priests & accepting former Episcopal Church parishes into Catholic Church
  • Allowed creation of the Anglican Use form of the Latin Rite, which incorporates the Anglican Book of Common Prayer
  • Established Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church (Anglican Use), in cooperation with San Antonio Archbishop Patrick Flores


  • Signed a Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, as a gesture of unity by the representatives of the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation

Judaism (Jerusalem)

  • Improved relations between Catholicism and Judaism
  • Became the first Pope to visit the Nazi Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, in 1979
  • Visited the Great Synagogue of Rome in April 1986, thus becoming the first pope ever known to have made an official papal visit to a synagogue
  • Established formal diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel, acknowledging its centrality in Jewish life and faith
  • Visited Yad Vashem in Israel and made history by touching the holiest site in Judaism, the Western Wall in Jerusalem
  • Placed a letter inside the Western Wall in Jerusalem, asking for forgiveness for the actions against Jews, in the past
  • Became the first known Pope in history to receive a priestly blessing from a rabbi, in January 2005

Eastern Orthodox Church

  • Became the first Pope to visit Romania, a predominantly Eastern Orthodox country, since the Great Schism in 1054
  • Visited Ukraine and pleaded for “open, tolerant and honest dialogue”, also stated that putting an end to the Schism was one of his fondest wishes
  • Became the first Pope to visit Greece in 1291 years


  • Was visited by Tibetan spiritual leader Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama eight times, more than any other dignitary in this world


  • Became the first Catholic Pope to visit and pray in an Islamic mosque (Umayyad Mosque) in Damascus, Syria (2001)

Syro-Malankara Catholic Church

  • Elevated the Archdiocese of Trivandrum to a Major Archdiocese, elevating the Archbishop to Major Archbishop, on February 10, 2005.

Assassination Attempt & Death

Pope John Paul II was shot and critically wounded on 13th May, 1981, as he was entering St. Peter’s Square to address an audience. The shooter was Mehmet Ali Ağca, an expert and trained Turkish gunman of the militant group Grey Wolves. A second assassination attempt took place on the Pope, on 12th May, 1982. In Fátima, Portugal, a man tried to stab him with a bayonet, but was stopped by security guards in time.

Pope John Paul II was diagnosed with septic shock, a widespread form of infection – characterized by a very high fever and profoundly low blood pressure, on March 31, 2005. Despite this, he was not taken to the hospital and was given medical aid by a team of consultants at his private residence. On April 2, 2005, Pope John Paul IIleft for the heaven abode, 46 days short of his 85th birthday. He was cremated at St. Peter’s Basilica.

After Death

John Paul II is one of the four Popes, who have been referred to with the title ‘the Great’. He has been called ‘John Paul the Great’ through popular and continued usage, since there is no official process for declaring a pope “Great”. In 2007, the successor of Pope John Paul II – Benedict XVI began his beatification process. He bypassed the normal restriction of five years having been passed since a person’s death, for beatifying him/her, citing “exceptional circumstances”. The Vicariate of Rome, on March 8, 2007, declared that the diocesan phase of John Paul’s cause for beatification was at its conclusion.


John Paul II’s official title was: ‘Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of Saint Peter, Head of the College of Bishops, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West (this title was recently removed from the papal list of titles by the reigning pope, Benedict XVI), Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, Servus Servorum Dei, Pope John Paul II.’

Teachings (List of Encyclicals)

1979 – Redemptor Hominis (The Redeemer of Man)

1980 – Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy)

1981 – Laborem Exercens (On Human Work)

1985 – Slavorum Apostoli (The Apostles of the Slavs)

1986 – Dominum et Vivificantem (The Lord and Giver of Life)

1987 – Redemptoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer),    Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (On Social Concerns)

1990 – Redemptoris Missio (Mission of the Redeemer)

1991 – Centesimus Annus (The Hundredth Year)

1993 – Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth)

1995 – Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), Ut Unum Sint      (That They May Be One)

1998 – Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason)

2003 – Ecclesia de Eucharistia (The Church of the Eucharist)


1920 – Karol Josef Wojtyla was born

1929 – Lost his mother

1932 – Lost his elder brother, Edmund

1938 – Moved to Krakow with his father, where he attended Jagiellonian University and nurtured his interest in drama

1939 – Germany invaded Poland

1940 – Began working as a stonecutter, to avoid imprisonment or displacement by the occupying Nazis

1941 – Lost his father

1942 – Began studying for priesthood, in Krakow’s underground seminary

1943 – Playedlead role in, what would be, his final theatrical performance

1946 – Ordained as a priest and went to Rome to continue his education

1948 – Earned a doctorate in philosophy and returned to Poland, to complete a doctorate in theology

1949 – BecameAssistant Pastor at St. Florian’s, in Krakow

1954 – Appointed as a teacher at the Catholic University of Lublin

1958 – Named Auxiliary Bishop in Krakow

1962 – Joined other Catholic bishops in Rome, for the historic Second Vatican Council

1963 – Appointed as the Archbishop of Krakow

1967 – Consecrated as a Cardinal

1978 – Elected as the 264th pope, the first Slav to hold the position

1979 – Wrote his first papal encyclical, Redemptor Hominis (“The Redeemer of Man”) and became the first pope ever to make a pilgrimage to Ireland

1981 – Sustained a gunshot wound in St. Peter’s Square

1993 – Wrote his 10th encyclical, Veritatis Splendor (“The Splendor of Truth”), emphasizing the importance of church’s role in moral instruction

1997 – Became the first pope ever to visit Cuba

1998 – Marked his 20th year as Head of the Roman Catholic Church, becoming the longest-serving pope of the 20th century.

2005 – Died after suffering heart failure, while undergoing treatment for an infection

2011 – Beatification of Pope John Paul II.

Source: http://www.thefamouspeople.com

The Holy Week

Holy Week includes the final week of Lent and part of the Paschal Triduum. Holy Week runs from Palm Sunday through Holy Saturday, and also includes Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. It falls in late March, or April. In 2011, Holy Week runs from April 17 – April 23 (dates in other years).

Basic Facts About Holy Week

Liturgical Color(s): Violet (Purple); various

Type of Holiday: Fast

Time of Year: The Last Week of Lent Before Easter Sunday

Duration: Palm Sunday to Holy Saturday

Celebrates/Symbolizes: Various Final Events of Jesus’ Life

Alternate Names: hebdomada major

Scriptural References: Matthew 21, 26-27; Mark 11, 14-15; Luke 19, 22-23; John 13, 16-19

Holy Week is the last week of Lent before Easter, beginning on Palm Sunday and ending on Holy Saturday. In an older nomenclature, Holy Week is the second Sunday of Passiontide (Passiontide begins on the fifth Sunday of Lent). Holy Week is the part of the Church Year where Jesus’ final moments are commemorated. The final three days of Holy week are part of the Paschal Triduum. Holy Week consists of the following events, which have their own ChurchYear.Net pages. To get more details, click on the specific links:

Palm Sunday:

On the sixth Sunday of Lent we commemorate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Worship services include blessing of the palms and a procession. The liturgical color is red. Also known as “Fig Sunday.”

Spy Wednesday:

This is an old and uncommon name for the Wednesday of Holy Week, which commemorates Judas’ agreement to betray Jesus (see Matthew 26:3-5, 14-16).

Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday):

The name “Maundy Thursday” is derived from Jesus “mandate” to love one another as he loves us. This day celebrates the institution of the sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Ordination. Also known as “Shear Thursday.”

Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion:

A Fast day of the Church commemorating Jesus’ crucifixion and death. Worship customs include Veneration of the Cross, communion from the reserved Maundy Thursday host, and the singing or preaching of the Passion (reading or singing excerpts of the Passion story from John’s gospel). In the Catholic Church, the liturgical color was formerly black, but is now red.

Holy Saturday:

This is the final day of Holy Week. There are few specific customs associated with Holy Saturday, except that it is the final night before the Feast of the Resurrection, which begins at the Great Easter Vigil.

Other customs and events, including Tenebrae, have developed as Holy Week customs. Generally Holy Week is a busy time for Catholic and Orthodox Christians, as we build up to the Queen of all Church Feasts, Easter (Pascha).


Holy Week, i.e. the series of pre-Easter festivities commemorating various events of the final days of Christ’s life, probably developed in 4th century Jerusalem, possibly beginning with St. Cyril of Jerusalem. Christians from all over the world would take pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and the Church of Jerusalem provided rites and worship dedicated to reenacting the final events of Christ’s life. The first account we have of such rites is the diary of the pilgrimage of Egeria to Jerusalem around AD 381. Gradually many of these customs and holy days spread to the wider Christian world. For more history, please see our more detailed individual pages linked above.

Maundy Thursday Prayer

Jesus instituted the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday. The following Maundy Thursday prayer may be said on Maundy Thursday or anytime in which a person feels like offering thanks and praise, or reflecting on the Last Supper/Eucharist.

On the night before he was to give himself up to die
for the salvation of the world,
Our Lord Jesus Christ
gave you thanks and praise,
by celebrating communion with his followers.
Accept this prayer, O Lord,
as a sign of my thanks and praise,
and may you draw me ever closer to you,
through the body and blood of your Son.
I pray in his name. Amen.