Sister Marie Simon-Pierre was healed while in an advanced stage of Parkinson’s disease; little Kevin Jeremie was healed from paralysis. Both miracles are attributed to Blessed John Paul II. The lame walk, the sick are healed. This is the work of God, through the intercession of his saints, who now live in God.

Blessed John Paul II lived with God, worked with God, travelled the globe with God. For 27 years he was God’s Vicar on earth. He produced 14 encyclicals and around 100 apostolic letters, plus innumerable other letters and homilies. He made over 100 journeys and visited over 130 countries.

400 million people turned out to see him; he canonised 500 saints and beatified almost 3 times that number. He inspired millions of young people and brought them together. In Manila, in the Philippines, he celebrated Holy Mass for 4 million people – the largest such gathering of all time. On the 27th April 2014 he was  canonised, together with Pope John XXIII. Both these popes were Apostles of Joy and Hope for the World.

They reformed the Catholic Church: The ‘good Pope’ as they called John XXIII, with the Second Vatican Council and his encyclical on peace, ‘Pacem in terris’, was the first papal document to be addressed not only to Catholics, but to ‘all men of goodwill’. Peace on Earth – this was the mission of the Church that both men devoted themselves to – for peace is the fruit of love.

In this spirit Pope John Paul II brought about the collapse of communism and overcame the divisions in Europe caused by the Iron Curtain. He reconciled the Church with Judaism, and Faith with Science. He energetically promoted reconciliation with the Orthodox Church, revived interreligious dialogue, launched numerous peace initiatives, raised awareness of the importance of the family and had an open ear for the cause of human rights in many parts of the world. As he famously stated, ‘War is always a defeat for humanity’.

Pope John Paul II wrote history and shaped it; he became, in his own lifetime, a giant not only of the 20th century, but of history itself. A man of superlatives, who nonetheless always pointed us to the One whom he represented. A media star in the early years, a living martyr in the latter ones, as it became clear that he stood for truth, spoken uncompromisingly and with love.

Great too was Pope John XXIII – in faith, and great in his humanity. He understood this always in relation to God, to His love.

‘Man is never greater than when he kneels’, he said. Indeed, both men kneeled before their Creator – fervently, at length, abandoned, immersed in love.

Both men also knew Father Werenfried, the Bacon Priest, John Paul II was a personal friend.

Both men sent the Bacon Priest further out into the world – John XXIII commended Latin America to him; John Paul II Russia and the Orthodox Church. Father Werenfried obeyed them both: ‘the wish of the Pope is our command’, he would say – and then entrust himself to the generosity of our benefactors. So ACN grew under these two popes, through prayer, sacrifice and creative fidelity.

Now these two men, who knelt so often and so long before the altar, will themselves be raised to the altar. No doubt from heaven they will continue to help us ease the needs of the universal Church, uncompromisingly, and with love.

This article can be found in Mirror 0314.