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    Posted April 23, 2014 by
    Rome, Italy
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Canonización de Juan Pablo II

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    A Prayer Intention before John Paul II


    He was in the twilight of his life, in his penultimate Christmas as Pope, but what a strength he continued to exude! It was true, he may have lost his health but not his charism. Therefore it was with pride and pleasure that I had the opportunity to read a prayer intention literally in front of Pope John Paul II in the Christmas Midnight Mass of 2003 at the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican. There have been many, maybe thousands, who have done this before, but that singular moment will stay, at least for me, as unforgettable.


    I read one of the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful. It was in Filipino and it went:


    "Umaasa ako sa Panginoon; umaasa ako sa Kanyang salita." [Sal 130:5] Ikaw na siyang pag-asa ng mga nahuhuli at ng mga mahihirap, nawa ang pagsilang ng iyong bugtong na Anak ay magsilbing konsolasyon at pag-asa sa mga maysakit at sa mga taong sa kanila'y nangangalaga, sa mga dayuhan at mga nasa bilangguan, sa napakaraming batang pinabayaan, at biktima ng karahasan, sa mga bagong mukha ng kahirapan na aming natatagpuan sa aming kapaligiran."


    ["I hope in the Lord; I hope in His word." (cf. Ps 130:5) You who are the hope of the disenfranchised and the poor, may the birth of your only Son be a consolation and hope for the sick and those who care for them, for the foreigners and prisoners, for the many children who are victims of violence, for the new faces of poverty that we find in our environment."]


    The cantor concluded each intention with the Latin "Dominum oremus" ("We pray to the Lord.") and the people responded with the Greek "Kyrie eleison" ("Lord have mercy.") There were six of us who read the different intentions: in French, Polish, German, Arabic, Filipino and Portuguese. Today what thrills me is not the novelty of leading a prayer in the Vatican but doing so within the mass of a holy man.


    This coming Sunday, April 27, 2014, Pope John Paul II will be declared "Saint" by the Catholic Church. My generation has seen him as the pope from our childhood to adulthood. This particular episode that I have recounted came at the last part of his pontificate, a period that will be fondly remembered by all of us: a suffering Pontiff leading the Church, the condition of an ailing shepherd that ironically was a source of strength for the whole flock.



    (I acknowledge Centro Televisivo Vaticano for the videoclip attached to this article and L'Osservatore Romano for the photograph.)

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