Beatification Seen as Worldwide Embrace, Says Cardinal

Photo Exhibit Launched in Spoleto to Honor John Paul II

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SPOLETO, Italy, MAY 24, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Leonardo Sandri says the May 1 beatification of Pope John Paul II was an embrace the whole world gave to "the great Pope." That embrace is being prolonged, he said, at a photo exhibit in the Pontiff's honor at the cathedral of Spoleto.

The prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches spoke May 7 at the dedication of the exhibit. "John Paul II: A Man Who Made History" will run through Aug. 30. The photos are provided by Reuters journalists.

"The initiative enables us to pause and look at the journey made by the 'Pope who came from a distant country,' who wished to be the father of the one human family, while he carried out with singular dedication the service of Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pastor of the Church, as Successor of the Apostle Peter," Cardinal Sandri reflected.

He noted how Oct. 22, the day the Holy Father began his Petrine ministry, is now the liturgical memorial of Blessed John Paul II.

The choice of that date, the cardinal said, stresses "the heart of the pontificate," represented by the cross and the Pope's exhortation to open wide the doors to Christ.

"Dear friends, John Paul II was certainly 'a man who made history,'" Cardinal Sandri said, "and history has not forgotten him."

There is an "impressive trace that he left on human events," the cardinal reflected, "touching in depth the spirit of innumerable men and women, of every age -- and to what degree for the young age! -- as of every religion, culture and social extraction."

The secret of the Pontiff's ability to reach mankind, he said, "lies in the capacity to touch the essential of his mystery, in making the insuppressible nostalgia of God vibrate, which dwells in the depth of his spirit. John Paul II felt at ease in the history of men."