Tag Archives: John Paul II

Iowa Catholic Radio: John Paul the Great 15 years later

2 Apr

DES MOINES, Iowa. (April 2, 2020) — Patrick Novecosky, editor of this blog, was a guest on Iowa Catholic Radio’s Jon Leonetti in the Morning program this morning — on the 15th anniversary of Pope John Paul the Great’s death.

During the 11-minute segment, Leonetti asked Novecosky about his new book, 100 Ways John Paul II Changed the World, which commemorates the great Polish saint’s 100th birthday coming up on May 18, 2020.

CLICK HERE to listen to the entire interview. (10 minutes 30 seconds)

You can purchase the book on Amazon here.

Pope John Paul II taught us to have hope in troubled times

2 Apr

by Patrick Novecosky

(April 2, 2020) —  Fifteen years ago Thursday, the world bid farewell to a tenacious world leader whose life and words have much to offer us today. Even though Pope Saint John Paul II didn’t live through a global pandemic, he was renowned for his fighting spirit and his ability to find hope in troubled times. He found that hope in the cross of Jesus Christ.

As a young man, he survived the Nazi occupation of his homeland before serving the church in Poland as a priest and bishop during the communist occupation of Eastern Europe — until he eventually helped engineer its downfall.

When he died on April 2, 2005, at age 84, the Polish pope had guided the Catholic Church for more than 26 years. His life and his death spoke of his unfading hope in God’s providence and his mercy on all who turn their hearts heavenward.

Pope John Paul II addresses the United Nations on Oct. 5, 1995

What would John Paul say to today’s world, filled with so much uncertainty amid this global pandemic? There’s no way to know for sure, but when he spoke to global leaders at the United Nations in 1995, he told them to “be not afraid,” the mantra he repeated often throughout his pontificate.

“We must overcome our fear of the future,” the pope said. “But we will not be able to overcome it completely unless we do so together. The answer to that fear is neither coercion nor repression, nor the imposition of one social model on the entire world. The answer to the fear which darkens human existence at the end of the twentieth century is the common effort to build the civilization of love, founded on the universal values of peace, solidarity, justice, and liberty.”

If there was ever a man who had a right to embrace pessimism, it was Karol Wojtyla. Born in Wadowice, Poland, in 1920, the man who would go on to become John Paul II lived a life of suffering.

Young Karol was almost 9 when his mother Emilia died. Three years later, his brother Edmund, a doctor, contracted scarlet fever during an outbreak and died at the age of 26. Before the future pope had turned 21, his father died, leaving him an orphan.

The pope’s suffering was deepened in 1981 when an assassin shot him in St. Peter’s Square. Although his mental acuity never waned, his physical health began to decline with each successive year after breaking his leg in 1994.

Instead of turning inward as a pessimist and allowing his circumstances dictate his response, John Paul turned to God in prayer. This was, in a sense, the nuclear reactor that powered his entire life and all that he accomplished as a priest, bishop, pope, philosopher, theologian, poet, and diplomat.

“Although I have lived through much darkness, under harsh totalitarian regimes, I have seen enough evidence to be unshakably convinced that no difficulty, no fear is so great that it can completely suffocate the hope that springs eternal in the hearts of the young,” he said at the 2002 World Youth Day in Toronto. “Do not let that hope die! Stake your lives on it! We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.”

As I document in my new book, John Paul saw his role as more than just the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. He firmly believed that God had positioned him to be pastor to the world. All told, the Polish pontiff made 104 foreign trips, touching down in 129 countries. He logged more than 775,000 miles — the equivalent of circling the globe more than 30 times.

Billy Graham meets with John Paul II in this undated photo

John Paul II reached out to men and women of all faiths — and those without religious conviction. He called the new atheism “the spiritual tragedy of our times,” and he entered into serious dialogue with all Christians — from evangelicals to traditional Protestants, from Orthodox churches to fallen-away Catholics.

In fact, shortly before his election as pope, Cardinal Wojtyla gave permission for Billy Graham to preach at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Krakow. A few years later, during Billy Graham’s first meeting with John Paul II in 1981, the pope held the American evangelist’s hand and said: “We are brothers.” For the Holy Father, that was one of many victories in his efforts to bring Christians together.

As the world watched John Paul’s rapidly declining health during the early months of 2005, the pope’s suffering was on full display. When he appeared at the window of the papal apartments on Easter Sunday, he was barely able to speak above a whisper. We watched and our hearts were moved. Despite the Easter jubilation, the pope was still walking “the way of the cross.”

When he died on April 2 — the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday — tributes poured in from around the globe. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said: “John Paul II was one of the greatest men of the last century. Perhaps the greatest.”

Billy Graham told talk show host Larry King that the pope dying was like losing a member of his own family.

“He believed in the cross,” Graham said. “That was his focus throughout his ministry, the cross, no matter if you were talking to him from a personal issue or an ethical problem, he felt that there was the answer to all of our problems, the cross and the resurrection.”

Patrick Novecosky is a media relations professional. He lives in Florida with his wife and five children. His new book is “100 Ways John Paul II Changed the World.” This article originally appeared at FoxNew.com on April 2, 2020.

Trending With Timmerie: John Paul the Great

1 Apr

GARDEN GROVE, California. (April 1, 2020) — Patrick Novecosky, editor of this blog, was a guest on Relevant Radio’s Trending with Timmerie today.

During the 48-minute segment, host Timmerie Millington asked Novecosky about his new book, 100 Ways John Paul II Changed the World, which commemorates Pope St. John Paul the Great’s 100th birthday, coming up on May 18, 2020. They discuss not only how this saint changed the world but also religious liberty, the value of suffering, death, human dignity, athletes, theology of the body, sexuality, and more.

CLICK HERE to listen to the entire interview. (36 minutes)

You can purchase the book on Amazon here.

The Jason Jones Show: John Paul II Changes the World

25 Mar

KAPOLEI, Hawaii. (March 25, 2020) — Patrick Novecosky, editor of this blog, was a guest on The Jason Jones Show podcast today.

During the 70-minute podcast, host Jason Jones asked Novecosky about his new book, 100 Ways John Paul II Changed the World, which commemorates Pope St. John Paul the Great’s 100th birthday, coming up on May 18, 2020. They discussed the 25th anniversary of both men’s favorite papal encyclical — Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), which Novecosky calls “the Magna Carta of the pro-life movement.”

CLICK HERE to listen to the entire interview. (70 minutes)

You can purchase the book on Amazon here.

The day of four popes, two saints … tomorrow

26 Apr
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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY (April 26, 2014) — I’ve been in Rome for 36 hours and I have completely forgotten to blog. Yes, it’s been that good! Best news first: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will concelebrate the canonization Mass with Pope Francis tomorrow. It will be the day of four popes and two new saints in about 16 hours.

After adjusting to the six-hour time difference on Wednesday, I woke up Thursday morning and went straight to the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross for a C-FAM/Alliance Defending Freedom conference exploring the pontificate of John Paul II, the soon-to-be saint. Speakers included papal biographer George Weigel, Ambassador Michael Novak, Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life, all moderated by C-FAM’s Austin Ruse.

St. Peter's Square is bustling, awaiting the millions here for the canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII

St. Peter’s Square is bustling, awaiting the millions here for the canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII

After a brisk 8-mile run along the Tiber this morning, I waded into the growing crowds streaming into St. Peter’s Square. Estimates range from 1 million to 5 million pilgrims, so it will be a fascinating night — especially since it has already started raining here.

Security will empty St. Peter’s Square of pilgrims (some of whom have camped out for most of the day) so they can secure it for the event, which is drawing several heads of state — including the president of Poland.

Our media contingent will be led into the Square at 4:30 am (10:30 pm Eastern Saturday night), so this guy will need a triple espresso when it’s over!

Watch for photos on my Facebook page!

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor of this blog.photo

The family is God’s work

13 Jun

Have you ever noticed that many adults these days seem to be confused about a lot of things? Even people of faith seem confused about the direction our country is going, about our culture, and even about our faith.

Certain elements in our culture are working hard to feed that confusion by turning things we used to take for granted upside down. What was once right is now wrong. What was once acceptable is now taboo. What was once taboo is now in vogue. Not least among the things our culture has twisted are marriage and the family.

The modern understanding of the family as the “domestic church” developed during the Second Vatican Council. The council concluded that the smallest articulation of the church is not the parish, but the family. This is where the essential teachings in catechesis, prayer and morality should be lived out in order to impart the faith to our children.

This also means that the family is not just a sociological unit. Rather, God created the family to play a specific role in his plan of salvation — and to model Christ’s relationship with the Church. The family isn’t simply two adult persons who raise children in their own particular set of values (as our confused society would have you believe). God established marriage as the exclusive and permanent bonding of a man and a woman, the two becoming “one flesh” (Gen 2:22-24).

Similarly, Christ is made “one body” with his bride, the Church (Eph 5:21-32). In doing so, God makes us his own. His love for the Church is fruitful, just as he established marriage to be fruitful.

Blessed John Paul II

Blessed John Paul II knew this very well. His parents modeled the Holy Family for him and his brother. In his 1960 book Love and Responsibility, he wrote: “Marriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family — a domestic church.”

John Paul also understood that the devil, in his jealousy, seeks to obliterate anything that calls people to holiness —especially the family. “At a moment of history in which the family is the object of numerous forces that seek to destroy it,” he wrote in his 1981 apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio, “and aware that the well-being of society and her own good are intimately tied to the good of the family, the Church perceives in a more urgent and compelling way her mission of proclaiming to all people the plan of God for marriage and the family” (#3).

And what is the Church’s plan for marriage and the family? We are called to model the self-giving, sacrificial love that Christ has for his Church. If we do that well, the confusion that plagues our society will evaporate as quickly as the sun dispels the morning fog.

Patrick Novecosky is the founder and editor of The Praetorium. This article first appeared in the June issue of Legatus Magazine. Reprinted with permission.