As regards the Pontiff's health and future commitments, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See's Press Office, told reporters that "since yesterday afternoon, the Holy Father has not had a fever, so much so that he got out of bed at 9 p.m. and went to a window of the Archbishop's Residence in Krakow to greet the many faithful on the Square."
As the Pope awoke without fever, he decided to continue his apostolic pilgrimage. This morning he presided over the Mass and canonization ceremony of Sr. Kinga at Stary Sacz. Because his voice was not strong, the homily he prepared was read by Cardinal Macharski.
His schedule for this afternoon and tomorrow will continue unaltered until his return to Rome. His visit to the Shrine of Czestochowa, scheduled for tomorrow, will depend on the possibility of using the helicopter: weather forecasts predict low fog for tomorrow. Because of the fog, the Pope went to Stary Sacz by car today.
In so far as the trip to Armenia is concerned, Navarro-Valls said, "John Paul II's much awaited visit with Patriarch Karekin I, will not take place at this moment in time. The Pope hopes he will be able to visit the Catholicos of all Armenians in the near future."
As regards future engagements, the Vatican spokesman said that "the dedication of the new Shrine of Divine Love, to be presided over by the Holy Father and scheduled for Sunday, June 20 in Rome, has been transferred to Sunday, July 4." ZE99061608
The Pope came to the Mass by car, rather than helicopter, as planned, since a low fog was covering the region. Because the Holy Father was still hoarse from his bout of flu, Cardinal Franciszek Macharski read the papal homily this morning in Stary Sacz, on the field in front of the Poor Clares' convent.
In his description of Saint Kinga, John Paul II highlighted the value of chastity. Saint Kinga, in fact, "she sought to consecrate herself to God whole-heartedly by a vow of virginity. And so, when the circumstances of the time dictated that she was to marry Prince Boleslaus, she convinced him to live a life of virginity for the glory of God, and after a waiting-period of two years the spouses made a vow of perpetual chastity in the hands of Bishop Prandota."
The Holy Father explained that "this way of life, perhaps difficult to understand nowadays, yet deeply rooted in the tradition of the early Church, gave Saint Kinga that inner freedom which enabled her to be concerned first of all with the things of the Lord and to lead a profound religious life. Today let us reconsider this great testimony. Saint Kinga teaches us that both marriage and virginity lived in union with Christ can become a path to holiness. Today Saint Kinga rises to safeguard these values. She reminds us that the value of marriage, this indissoluble union of love between two persons, cannot be brought into question under any circumstances. Whatever difficulties may arise, one may not abandon the defence of this primordial love which has united two persons and which is constantly blessed by God. Marriage is the way of holiness, even when it becomes the way of the Cross."
The Pontiff stated that chastity is "extraordinary gift whereby man experiences in a special way his own freedom. He can make of this inner freedom a place of encounter with Christ and with others on the path of holiness. Standing before this Convent, together with Saint Kinga, I speak in a special way to you young people: defend your inner freedom! Let no false shame keep you from cultivating chastity! And may the young men and women called by Christ to preserve life-long virginity know that this is a privileged state, which manifests most clearly the powerful work of the Holy Spirit."
The Holy Father continued to address another trait of Saint Kinga's spirit: "As a princess she knew how to be about her Father's business even in this world. At her husband's side she shared in his rule, showing firmness and courage, generosity and concern for the good of the country and her subjects. During unrest within the state, during the struggle for power in a kingdom divided into regions, during the devastating invasions of the Tartars, Saint Kinga was able to rise to the needs of the moment. She worked zealously for the unity of the Piast heritage, and in order to raise the country from ruin she did not hesitate to give away the entire dowry received from her father. Linked to her name are the rock salt mines of Wieliczka and Bochnia near Krakow. First and foremost, however, she was attentive to the needs of her subjects. The old biographies written on her confirm this, testifying that the people called her their 'comforter,' 'physician,' 'nurse,' 'holy mother.' Having renounced natural motherhood, she became a true mother to all."
"All this is associated with her sanctity. And when we ask today how to go about becoming saints and living the life of holiness, Saint Kinga seems to reply: You need to be concerned with the things of the Lord in this world. She bears witness that carrying out this task consists in a constant effort to preserve harmony between the faith we profess and the life we lead," the Pope asserted. "Today's world needs the holiness of Christians who in the ordinary conditions of family and professional life take on their proper daily duties, and who, in their desire to do the will of the Creator and to serve others each day, respond to his eternal love."
The Holy Father's homily ended with an invocation: "Brothers and Sisters, do not be afraid to aspire to holiness! Do not be afraid to be saints! Make of this century now drawing to a close and of the new millennium an era of saintly men and women!" ZE99061609
The Holy Father traveled to Stary Sacz, southeast of Krakow, to preside at the canonization of Princess Kinga, the daughter of a Hungarian monarch who during the 13th century used her wealth and influence to build up religious life in Poland, before joining a convent herself after the death of her husband.
Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls told reporters that after a day of rest the Pontiff was "fine, except for his voice." While the Pope showed no signs of illness, his speech was hoarse, and he allowed Cardinal Franciszek Marcharski to read his homily. He celebrated Mass for a congregation of over 700,000-- many of whom had been waiting in the rain for several hours, even though they were not sure the Pope would appear. The congregation included several leading politicians from the region: Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek, Hungarian President Arpad Goncz, and Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda.
After the ceremony, the Pope spent several hours resting at the convent where Saint Kinga died. Then he continued on to Wadowice, the town where he was born, for a short visit.
Earlier in the week Pope John Paul had made the surprise announcement that he would extend his stay in Poland by one day, and make a detour through Armenia on his return trip, so that he could visit the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catolicos Karekin I, who is dying of throat cancer. That quick visit was to have replaced a more formal two-day papal trip to Armenia, which had been originally scheduled for July 2-4, but postponed indefinitely because of the failing health of the Catolicos.
In announcing that the plans had been altered once again, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said that the Pope still intended to visit Karekin I "when it is possible." He said that concrete plans for a short visit to Armenia-- probably a one-day trip-- would be made after the Pope's return to Rome.
The Holy Father couldn't preside the Mass as scheduled due to an influenza, which forced him to postpone all public activities. Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Vals informed that the Pope had a slight rise of temperature, and that he stayed at the residence of the Archbishop of Krakow. It was also informed that during the afternoon the fever diminished.
Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, Archbishop of Krakow, read the Pope's homily during the celebration. In it the Holy Father recalled and celebrated the thousand years of Krakow, a city whose origin is strongly united to the apostolate that Saint Adalbert carried out and to his martyrdom. "The roots of the land of Krakow," indicated the Pope in his homily, "are deeply fixed in the apostolic tradition, the prophetic mission and the testimony of martyrdom."
At the end of Mass, the Cardinal Secretary of Stated invited the present to continue praying for the Holy Father. "I thank you for your great example of faith and I thank you especially for the great love which you have for the Holy Father. Even though it is a rainy day, Krakow has shown itself to be a city of joy," he stated.