The man for all seasons for all of God's reasons!
Just a little over a year before we enter the Third Millennium, we enter today the Third Decade. Yes, the third decade of John Paul II's pontificate - for today we celebrate on October 16th the twenty year anniversary of his papacy in the twentieth century. It is a landmark papacy that has truly changed the face of the world. We present a special salute on the twentieth anniversary elsewhere in this issue which highlights not just his twenty years as head of the Church, but also the years of Cardinal Karol Josef Wojtyla leading up to his election as the 264th successor of Peter on October 16, 1978. It is not lost on the faithful that John Paul II was born in the month of Mary on May 18, 1920 just three years after the Fatima apparitions. He was baptized on the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and received his First Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Confirmation in Mary's month of May. The other month dedicated to the Blessed Mother is October and it was during this tenth month when his fellow cardinals chose this Polish prelate to lead the Church, the first non-Italian pontiff since Pope Hadrian IV in the sixteenth century. He showed his colors - blue and gold - by dedicating his papacy to Our Lady with the motto Totuus Tuus. Our Lady has rewarded him tenfold, first evident when he was shot in St. Peter's Square on the 64th anniversary of the first apparition at Fatima - May 13, 1981 - as he was riding in an open "popemobile" through the square. Had the bullet hit less than an inch in the other direction, it would have struck his heart and he would have left this world after only three years on the chair of Peter. But Jesus had other plans for this humble, scholarly holy man. His Blessed Mother intervened and John Paul II made a miraculous recovery. During the time he was recuperating he studied more on Our Lady of Fatima and the Diary of a fellow Polish holy woman Sister Faustina Kowalska's "Divine Mercy in my soul". Twelve years later he would beatify Blessed Faustina and do all he could to promote devotion to Divine Mercy and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. It is not lost on the faithful either that October 16th is also the feast of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque who brought the world devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for it is Mary who constantly reminds us to be rooted in her Divine Son's Sacred Heart and her own Immaculate Heart.
Yes, this is truly a landmark day as we wish His Holiness all the best and continue to pray ardently for his health and welfare for it coincides with the health and welfare of the Church. Over the first half of his pontificate he was a major force in bringing down the walls of the iron curtain and during the second half he has been totally dedicated to defeating the culture of death as well as striving to bring peace between all countries from Albania to Zanzibar. In addition, he has dedicated the last ten years to firming up the hierarchy within the Church, setting in place conservative, orthodox cardinals and bishops to replace liberal ones so that his legacy will continue in being true to all Jesus asks and more of the faithful will be prepared for the Third Millennium which he refers to as a "new beginning." During this second year of the Jubilee 2000 countdown the emphasis has been on the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity - the Holy Spirit and this pious Pope has been filled with the Spirit for he truly feels the Spirit and is tuned into the Spirit. Many have no doubt he is a mystical pontiff who receives messages and guidance from Heaven and lives the Gospel like few popes before him. He is truly a man for the ages, the man who commands respect not just from a billion Catholics around this globe but from every other denomination and atheists as well for he is one of the most important and influential men of this century! God has had a very good reason why he has kept this precious Pope with us an additional 17 years. While Jesus and Mary are the architects who have presented us the blueprints for the Reign of the Sacred Heart - the Era of the Holy Spirit - the Age of the Eucharistic Presence - the Third Renovation of the Third Fiat or the New Pentecost, which will come to fulfillment after the Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart, John Paul II is the foreman who will bring these plans to reality. During these past twenty years he has been building the foundation. The beams and pillars are in place and strong. Girded by grace and perseverance, the fittings are solid, but before the structure is finished and the lawn of selfless souls preened and nurtured, the stones and weeds and other refuse around it must be cleared away. These discardable items are those who opt for a Church the way they want, not the way God wills. It is the schism and apostasy Our Lady has foretold from La Salette on and it is happening today, but rather than weakening Holy Mother Church she is strengthened because of the countless prayers and sacrifices offered by those who remain loyal to Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and His beloved Vicar on earth who He has chosen as the man for all seasons for all of God's reasons!