Cardinal Leads Church in Gratitude for John Paul II

Celebrates Thanksgiving Mass in St. Peter's

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 2, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's secretary of state led the Church today in giving thanks to God for a "man of faith and of prayer" and a "guide in the passage between two millennia."

This morning in St. Peter's Square, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving for Sunday's beatification of Pope John Paul II.

After a testimony from the Pope's longtime personal secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, and a reading of some of Karol Wojtyła's poetry, the crowded Mass of thanksgiving began with music offered by a choir formed of musicians both from Rome and Poland.

"Let us sing to the Lord a song of glory, for the gift of this great Pope," the cardinal invited.

Benedict XVI's secretary of state, who served as an official of the Roman Curia for 10 years of John Paul II's pontificate, said that everyone -- "some up close and others from afar" -- could see the coherence of the Polish Pontiff.

"He was a true man because he was inseparably bound to him who is Truth," he said. "He was a man who was alive, because of the Life that is Christ, always open to his grace and to all the gifts of the Holy Spirit."

Prayer

Cardinal Bertone particularly emphasized Blessed John Paul II's life of prayer.

"He was a man of faith, a man of God, who lived from God," the Salesian cardinal recalled. "His life was a continuous, constant prayer, a prayer that embraced with love every single inhabitant of the earthly planet. [...] Thanks to the faith which expressed itself above all in prayer, John Paul II was an authentic defender of the dignity of every human being and not a mere combatant for socio-political ideologies.

"For him, every woman, every man was a daughter, a son of God, regardless of race, color, skin, geographic and cultural provenance and even of religious creed. His relationship with every person is synthesized in that wonderful phrase he wrote: 'The other one belongs to me.'"

His prayer was "constant intercession for the whole human family, for the Church, for every community of believers, in the whole earth," Cardinal Bertone added. And it was a prayer "perhaps that much more effective" because it was marked by suffering.

"Was it not perhaps from here -- from prayer, from prayer linked to so many painful events of his own and of others -- that sprang his concern for peace in the world, for the peaceful coexistence of peoples and nations?" the cardinal reflected. "We all saw how everything was taken from him that humanly could impress: physical strength, the expression of the body, the possibility to move, even the word.

"And then, more than ever, he entrusted his life and his mission to Christ, because only Christ can save the world. He knew that his bodily weakness made it seen more clearly that it is Christ who operates in history. And offering his sufferings to Him and to his Church, he gave all of us a last great lesson of humanity and of abandonment in the arms of God."

"Let us sing to the Lord a song of glory, for the gift of this great Pope," Cardinal Bertone said, "man of faith and of prayer, pastor and witness, guide in the passage between two millennia. May this song illumine our life, so that not only we venerate the new Blessed but, with the help of the grace of God, we follow his teaching and his example."

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-32462?l=english