Blessed John Paul the Great pray for us!

Fr. Christopher Phillips has a wonderful post about the time he concelebrated Mass with Pope John Paul II in his private chapel.

What a lovely tale.  Here’s an excerpt to entice you to go over and read the whole thing.

Although I threw myself into the work, and felt the excitement of participating in something historic, the recurring thought came to me that I would very much like to attend the upcoming Wednesday general audience with the Pope. It was a few days before that when I began to drop subtle hints, but the work was keeping us very busy. One of the kindly bishops also serving in the group knew what I was thinking, and he spoke to me during one of our breaks. He expressed his regret that our work would keep me occupied during the Wednesday audience, and then he said something which seemed rather mysterious. “On Thursday morning, if you will be in the Piazza San Pietro just to the right of the obelisk at 5:00 a.m., there will be a surprise for you,” he said.

I couldn’t imagine what he meant, but I was there by 4:00 a.m. because I could hardly sleep with the anticipation of this mystifying appointment I was keeping. It was still dark as I was saying the rosary, with the moon hanging over St. Peter’s Basilica, and when 5:00 a.m. came, I caught sight of a sliver of artificial light coming from an opening door off to my right. Being summoned to the open door by a guard, a most wonderful pilgrimage began at the bottom of a long flight of stairs.

I still was unaware of what was waiting for me – perhaps a glimpse of some great art treasure, I thought, or maybe a private visit to the basilica – whatever it was to be, it was still a mystery to me. We reached a landing on the staircase, and entered an elevator. The elevator went up a few floors and then stopped. When we exited, we were asked to turn to the right and go down another corridor. After walking several yards, I happened to glance to my left through some open doors. The mystery was solved.

There in front of me was the Holy Father’s private chapel. A familiar white-cassocked figure was kneeling before the altar, and the realization of where I was nearly took my breath away. After being escorted into the sacristy, I was told to vest for Mass. My mind was in a blur as I put on the vestments, and when I was ready I was taken to my place in the papal chapel, which was at a kneeler right next to the Holy Father himself.


What a wonderful story.

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9 Responses to Blessed John Paul the Great pray for us!

  1. Paul Nicholls ofs says:

    We, in the Anglican Use or of Anglican heritage, Ordinariate bound or not, have much to thank Blessed John Paul II for the Pastoral Provision of 1980. He should be considered a patron of the Ordinariate.

    • Rev22:17 says:


      You wrote: We, in the Anglican Use or of Anglican heritage, Ordinariate bound or not, have much to thank Blessed John Paul II for the Pastoral Provision of 1980.

      Yes, and Blessed John XXIII and Pope Paul VI as well. It was really the Second Vatican Council that began the ecumenical dialog that had progressed to the point that some Anglican clergy would perceive full communion with the Catholic Church as a viable option.

      >> In addition to the decision to invite other Christian denominations to send delegations of “observers” to the council, a seeming small act by Pope John XXIII right before the council opened was huge. When the pope tour the council chamber before the opening of the council, the cardinal who accompanied him showed him a balcony that had been prepared for them. The pope, horrified, exclaimed that this was not satisfactory, as the observers were coming as official guests of the magisterium and that this was no way to treat a guest; rather that guests should have a place of honor. There was not enough time for a major reconfiguration of the council chamber. The pope looked around spotted an open area on the main floor, right in front of the podium, and directed that seating for the observers be placed in that area. The effect of this action was two-fold. First, although the observers could not speak at the podium, their seating on the main floor allowed them to interact with the members and advisors in the adjoining break areas, forming personal friendships and beginning interdenominational dialog at a personal level. And second, the fact that speakers at the podium found themselves looking directly at the observers undoubtedly gave them pause to moderate any vitriolic comments that they might have made about other denominations.

      >> And of course, we cannot discount the role of Pope Paul VI, first in continuing the council after the death of Blessed John XXIII and then in inaugurating direct meetings with the international leadership of numerous non-Catholic denominations and inauguration of theological dialog aimed at identifying and resolving differences, notably including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey, of the Anglican Communion and the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC). This action was also widely taken as a “green light” to dialog and collaboration on the diocesan and parochial levels.

      We also should note that the practice of granting dispensations for Catholic ordination of former Anglican and Lutheran ministers who came into the full communion of the Catholic Church was long established. I’m aware that Pope Pius XII had granted at least one such dispensation back in the 1950’s. Until the late 1970’s, there were relatively few petitions for such dispensations so the Vatican handled them on a case basis. The “Pastoral Provision” was primarily a vehicle to facilitate processing of the large number of petitions for these dispensations that suddenly began to emerge in the United States at that time. Nonetheless, it did contain two very significant innovations: it provided for congregations of former Anglicans to retain a distinctly Anglican form of the liturgy (“Anglican Use”), subsequently authorized as the Book of Divine Worship, and it foresaw the possibility of a distinct diocesan structure for such congregations, now brought to reality by Pope Benedict XVI in Anglicanorum coetibus.

      What’s really exciting here is the continuity of progress through four significant papacies. We are on a good trajectory!


    • Rev22:17 says:


      Oops, I meant also to comment on your last sentence.

      You wrote: He should be considered a patron of the Ordinariate.

      That’s a very interesting idea, but I think that the objective is to choose patrons who are respected within the Anglican tradition.


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  3. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    There is nothing great about Pope John Paul the Small. The most we can say about him is that he was not half as bad as Paul VI.


    • Rev22:17 says:


      You wrote: There is nothing great about Pope John Paul the Small. The most we can say about him is that he was not half as bad as Paul VI.

      When you are named among the blessed, you become competent to cut down those who are.

      Until then, respect is in order.

      Blessed John Paul the Great, pray for us!


      • Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

        Dear Norm the Great and Deborah the Great:

        The title ‘the Great’ customarily comes only after long veneration by generations of people; it is not the mark of a pop star or a showman; it is not accepted by the Church owing to local or national populism. I’m surprised they didn’t beatify him while he was still alive, but that, of course, would have required that he do it himself. Only three popes are called ‘Great’ as part of their titles, St. Gregory the Great, St. Leo the Great, and St. Nicholas the Great. There is no way that John Paul the Small is in their company, and these rushed canonisations are obscene. Frankly, when I hear him referred to by this title, I wonder if the reference is to John Paul I or John Paul II. The truth about the Showman Pope is that he was moderately conservative and did some very good things and some very bad things. He slowed the decline of the Church; he did not reverse it. His pontificate was providential and difficult but that does not put him in the same category as Gregory the Great, and only a cad with think otherwise.

        Now we hear that Benedict XVI plans to go ahead and beatify Paul VI, the worst Pope in history, and even John Paul I. While he’s at it, he should just beatify all of them. Why not? The more, the merrier.

        P.K.T.P. ‘Peter the Great’

      • Rev22:17 says:


        You wrote: The title ‘the Great’ customarily comes only after long veneration by generations of people; it is not the mark of a pop star or a showman; it is not accepted by the Church owing to local or national populism.

        And the same is true of recognition of a saint after the death of the person, but it is not without exception. Here, the case of Saint Adelaide is quite instructive. This medieval queen, known for radical generosity, both to the poor of the kingdom and to many monasteries of the realm, was never formally canonized. Upon her death, the people of the realm spontaneously started calling her Saint Adelaide. The foes of the kingdom protested to the pope, who replied that the people had spoken, settling the matter.

        And yes, her status as a saint has official recognition. There’s a Roman Catholic Parish of St. Adelaide in my archdiocese.

        Blessed John Paul the Great, ora pro nobis!


  4. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Dear Mr. Norm:

    All the saints in the Middle Ages were recognised and then affirmed; they were not formally canonised, for that process had not yet been devised. The Church does not recognise or use ‘the Great’ title except after long accepted usage, not the usage of a few years after a faithful’s death. The idea is to allow some the acid test of time some scope to assess more sensibly the record of the pope in question, not to be swayed by wild populism or Polish nationalism. John Paul II is not even canonised and his body was not even cold in the ground, and, already, every fool was calling him ‘the Great’. Was he more deserving of that title than was Bl. Pope Pius IX? Even the suggestion is risible. Was he in the same league as Pope St. Pius X? Not a chance. I can think of a dozen canonised saints who were important for all time, not just to the fools of the day, and who were never accorded that title. SS. Gregory VII, Leo IX and Pius V come to mind immediately.

    The real problem here is that John Paul II was anything but great. His pontificate was a time of massive decline for the Church and was marred very seriously by sexual abuse, liturgical disorder, and widespread heresy throughout the Church. It was a time when the faithful stopped attending Mass and seminaries closed all over the world. Not a great time, unless one thinks of a great failure. My own view of John Paul II is not completely negative. He very much slowed the rate of apostasy in the Church in our time, making possible a future restoration. There was much good in his pontificate and much that was very bad, like his œcumenical endeavours and the blasphemy of Assisi. He did good things to remove abuses in the liturgy and yet oversaw Masses that were scandalous, like the one at Randwick, in Australia, or the one in Benin in which topless women danced before the Altar during the Consecration. Not great at all.


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