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‘Pope of the Family’ becomes a Saint

Millions of people around the world, including Catholics and of other faiths watched with reverence the canonisation of John Paul II, who served as the Pope for 27 years until his death on April 2, 2005. John XXIII, who was the Pope from 1958 to 1963, was also canonised at the ceremony held on April 27, 2014.

With the canonisation, a holy relic for each of the popes was formally presented to the altar before the assembly of people, with giant banners showing the faces of the two late Popes displayed at the façade of St Peter’s Basilica. A commemorate Euro Stamp was released on the occasion.

Canonisation must be preceded by beatification, after at least two miracles are attributed, testified and accepted by the Papal Church.

As well as miracles, millions of Christians believe in the power of prayer, and take the blessings of Popes, Cardinals and Bishops as Ordained by the Divine.

The following experiences of Auckland businessman and social worker Wenceslaus Anthony narrates a meeting that he and his wife Susan had with the late Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1996 and that of his Spiritual Director several years earlier (in 1979) and the untold miracle that he performed on that day.

Wenceslaus Anthony told this reporter the following.

Vatican August 1996

We were at the Vatican in August 1996 to see the Holy City and listen to Pope John Paul II addressing at least one gathering. We were fortunate to be seated on the front row in a huge hall that accommodated more than 6300 people.

During the Audience, the Pope gave speeches in English, French, Spanish, German, Polish, Portuguese, Latin and other languages. He imparted Blessings to the people present and to the members of the families who are sick and suffering. When it was time for him to leave the stage, I was sad that one of the biggest events in my life was over.

However, a miracle occurred. He came down to meet a few people and saw us waiting for him. Holding Susan’s hands, he asked if we were from (the South Indian State of) Kerala.

Holding my hand, he said that Kerala always came to his mind whenever he thought of India. An inner voice told me that He is a living Saint filled with holiness and piety.

Vatican December 1979

Another incident, experienced by my Spiritual Director Fr Augustine Vallooran in Rome in 1979 was even more emotionally charged. He was in Rome as a young priest pursuing his Doctorate in Philosophy. His heart was filled with joy as his request for a personal meeting with the Pope was granted.

However a day before the meeting, he received a telegram which stated that his elder sister, who was a nun, was diagnosed with breast cancer, was in and out of coma and that she had only six months to live. As a student, I could not afford a visit to India.

The following day, seeing me, the Holy Father asked, “Young priest, why are you sad?”

I told him of my sister’s condition.

An untold miracle

The Pope closed his eyes and said, “Tell you sister that the Pope is praying for her. The sickness is not end in death but in the manifestation of the Glory of God.”

Fr Vallooran immediately recognised that these were words of God from the Gospel of John 11:4. His Holiness said, “Your sister will not die.”

Those words came true and she lived for the next 28 years.

The Sainthood of the late Pope John Paul II was hastened within nine years after his death, the fastest canonisation since the 18th Century.

I know that we have an intercessor and all of us like St John Paul ll are called to live in Holiness.

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