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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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Jerome Emiliani: A careless and irreligious soldier for the city-state of Venice, Jerome was captured in a skirmish at an outpost town and chained in a dungeon. In prison Jerome had a lot of time to think, and he gradually learned how to pray. When he escaped, he returned to Venice where he took charge of the education of his nephews—and began his own studies for the priesthood. 
<p>In the years after his ordination, events again called Jerome to a decision and a new lifestyle. Plague and famine swept northern Italy. Jerome began caring for the sick and feeding the hungry at his own expense. While serving the sick and the poor, he soon resolved to devote himself and his property solely to others, particularly to abandoned children. He founded three orphanages, a shelter for penitent prostitutes and a hospital. </p><p>Around 1532 Jerome and two other priests established a congregation, the Clerks Regular of Somasca, dedicated to the care of orphans and the education of youth. Jerome died in 1537 from a disease he caught while tending the sick. He was canonized in 1767. In 1928 Pius Xl named him the patron of orphans and abandoned children.</p> American Catholic Blog Jesus really cannot be merely a part of our life; he must be the center of our life. Unless we preserve some quiet time each day to sit at his feet, our action will become distraction, and we’ll be unhappy.

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