Friday, April 5, 2013
I had a memorial card for Pope John Paul II after his death. It used to sit to the table right next to my bed. That and a picture of my grandmother Mary Brown nee Quirk. We moved and I haven't found it since. It's gotta be somewhere though, right? I had wanted to share it on a Funeral Card Friday post, but it seemed like that wasn't going to happen any time soon.
Then I looked through a large box of memorial cards that my mother-in-law had passed on to me over Christmas and there were several memorial cards in there for John Paul II. I was surprised that none of them were like mine. I guess I shouldn't have been. Obviously there were millions made so why just have one style?
I love the one at the top of this post. That's how I think most Catholics remember our beloved John Paul II. Kind and gentle. The church isn't perfect, but I think it's safe to say that a vast majority of Catholics loved our pope. Disagree with him at times...sure, but he was adored, loved and looked up to. Not the same feeling with our newly retired pope (at least not for this Catholic). No animosity toward him, but John Paul II was a tough act to follow.
I remember when Pope John Paul II died. I was a Drill Sergeant at the Defense Language Institute, Foreign Language Center. Some of my colleagues were quite angry that the flag was ordered to half-staff for his death. It certainly showed me that anti-Catholic feelings run deep in some people, but I tried to maintain my composure and pointed out that each Pope is the head of state for Vatican City and that the flag was being lowered to honor the head of state, not the religious leader. I doubt it got through. Hatred can do that to some people, but you can't change facts (or policy).
Another more amusing story from that day was when a Soldier said, "Pope down!" He did some push ups (drop, Bruce!).
Love him or not, Pope John Paul II was one of the longest serving popes in the history of Catholicism. He played an important part in the lived of Catholics from 1978 to 2005. Karol Wojtyla....Pope John Paul II...rest in peace.