SAINT JOHN PAUL II, POPE
Karol Józef Wojtyła was born in 1920 in Wadowice. Ordained in Kraków, he went on to study theology in Rome. Upon returning to Poland, he performed various pastoral and academic duties. Consecrated auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Kraków, he became its Metropolitan Archbishop in 1964. He participated in the works of the Second Vatican Council. On 16 October 1978 he was elected pope and chose the name John Paul II. As a zealous pastor he cared about people, above all families, and the young and sick. He made numerous apostolic journeys to the most distant corners of the world. The special fruit of his spirituality are: rich magisterium, as well as the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the canon law of the Roman and Eastern Churches. He died in Rome on 2 April 2005, on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday.
Common of Pastors.
OFFICE OF READINGS
From the homily of Saint John Paul II, pope, delivered on the inauguration of his pontificate (22 October 1978)
(AAS 70  945-947)
Do Not Be Afraid. Open Wide the Doors for Christ
Peter came to Rome! What else but obedience to the inspiration received from the Lord guided him and brought him to this city, the heart of the Empire? Perhaps the fisherman of Galilee did not want to come here. Perhaps he would have preferred to stay there, on the shores of the Lake of Genesareth, with his boat and his nets. But guided by the Lord, obedient to his inspiration, he came here!
According to an ancient tradition (given magnificent literary expression in a novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz), Peter wanted to leave Rome during Nero’s persecution. But the Lord intervened: he went to meet him. Peter spoke to him and asked. “Quo vadis, Domine?” – “Where are you going, Lord?” And the Lord answered him at once: “I am going to Rome to be crucified again.” Peter went back to Rome and stayed here until his crucifixion.
Our time calls us, urges us, obliges us to gaze on the Lord and immerse ourselves in humble and devout meditation on the mystery of the supreme power of Christ himself.
He who was born of the Virgin Mary, the carpenter’s Son (as he was thought to be), the Son of the living God (confessed by Peter), came to make us all “a kingdom of priests.”
The Second Vatican Council has reminded us of the mystery of this power and of the fact that Christ’s mission as Priest, Prophet-Teacher and King continues in the Church. Everyone, the whole People of God, shares in this threefold mission. Perhaps in the past, the tiara, this triple crown, was placed on the Pope’s head in order to express by that symbol the Lord’s plan for his Church, namely that all the hierarchical order of Christ’s Church, all “sacred power” exercised in the Church, is nothing other than service, service with a single purpose: to ensure that the whole People of God shares in this threefold mission of Christ and always remains under the power of the Lord; a power that has its source not in the powers of this world but in the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection.
The absolute and yet sweet and gentle power of the Lord responds to the whole depths of the human person, to his loftiest aspirations of intellect, will and heart. It does not speak the language of force but expresses itself in charity and truth.
The new Successor of Peter in the See of Rome, today makes a fervent, humble and trusting prayer: Christ, make me become and remain the servant of your unique power, the servant of your sweet power, the servant of your power that knows no eventide. Make me be a servant. Indeed, the servant of your servants.
Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power.
Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ’s power to serve the human person and the whole of mankind.
Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows “what is in man.” He alone knows it.
So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt which turns into despair. We ask you therefore, we beg you with humility and trust, let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life.
Do not be afraid: The Saviour of man revealed the power of the cross and gave himself for us!
– Open wide the doors for Christ!
We have been called to become the participants of his power in the church.
– Open wide the doors for Christ!
O God, rich in mercy,
Saint John Paul II, pope, guided the Church of your will,
grant, we beseech you, that thanks to his teachings we may trustfully open our hearts for the work of Christ’s grace of salvation, our only Redeemer.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Congregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum. Probatum seu confirmatum, die 2 aprilis 2011, Prot. 119/11/L.