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Blessed John Paul II: Witness to Hope View Comments
By Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.


POPE JOHN PAUL II once described himself as a witness to hope. He was a much beloved one. On May 1, the Sunday after Easter, he will be beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in the presence of an estimated two million people. Billions more may watch the event on television.

The date is hardly coincidental. In 2000, Pope John Paul II designated the Sunday after Easter as the Feast of Divine Mercy when he canonized Sister Faustina Kowalska, to whom he had a great devotion.

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Pat McCloskey, O.F.M., is the Franciscan editor of this publication. Between 1985 and 1992 he worked at the international headquarters of the Order of Friars Minor, primarily as the director of communications. In January 1992 he concelebrated a morning Mass with the pope and several other priests in his private chapel.

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Conrad of Parzham: Conrad spent most of his life as porter in Altoetting, Bavaria, letting people into the friary and indirectly encouraging them to let God into their lives. 
<p>His parents, Bartholomew and Gertrude Birndorfer, lived near Parzham, Bavaria. In those days this region was recovering from the Napoleonic wars. A lover of solitary prayer and a peacemaker as a young man, Conrad joined the Capuchins as a brother. He made his profession in 1852 and was assigned to the friary in Altoetting. That city’s shrine to Mary was very popular; at the nearby Capuchin friary there was a lot of work for the porter, a job Conrad held for 41 years. </p><p>At first some of the other friars were jealous that such a young friar held this important job. Conrad’s patience and holy life overcame their doubts. As porter he dealt with many people, obtaining many of the friary supplies and generously providing for the poor who came to the door. He treated them all with the courtesy Francis expected of his followers. </p><p>Conrad’s helpfulness was sometimes unnerving. Once Father Vincent, seeking quiet to prepare a sermon, went up the belltower of the church. Conrad tracked him down when someone wanting to go to confession specifically requested Father Vincent. </p><p>Conrad also developed a special rapport with the children of the area. He enthusiastically promoted the Seraphic Work of Charity, which aided neglected children. </p><p>Conrad spent hours in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. He regularly asked the Blessed Mother to intercede for him and for the many people he included in his prayers. The ever-patient Conrad was canonized in 1934.</p> American Catholic Blog We let the devil exist by continuing to rebel against God. Satan tempts us, but we choose to sin. The devil can’t read our minds, but he can see our weaknesses. God has overcome the snares of the devil, though. When we live in Him, we have no reason to fear.


 
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St. Benedict Joseph Labre
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Continue to offer your prayers and encouragement to those who’ve joined your parish family this Easter.


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