Blessed JP II, We Love You

It feels fitting that today, the day after Pope Benedict XVI canonized seven new saints for a Church so greatly in need of heroic role models, we are celebrating the life of Blessed John Paul II.

Yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI presided over the Rite of Canonization and Eucharistic Celebration in honor of:

  • James Berthieu
  • Pedro Calungsod
  • John Baptist Piamarta
  • Carmen Sallés y Barangueras
  • Marianne Cope
  • Kateri Tekakwitha
  • Anna Schäffer

If your Italian is current, you might enjoy perusing this booklet from the Vatican. Over the next few months, I hope to blog more about the lives and virtues of this amazing group of men and women, especially our two newly minted American saints.

My view of the Beatification of Blessed John Paul II

My view of the Beatification of Blessed John Paul II

But today, I want to spend a few moments looking back on the life of one of my favorites, Blessed John Paul II. And specifically, I thought I’d share with you a photo from my trip to Rome in May of 2011 to attend his Beatification. On May 1, 2011 I wrote this reflection detailing my experience of the Mass of Beatification. If you’d like to see a few photos of how bad my hair looked that day, but also how happy my smile was, click through. Here, I simply want to reiterate my impression of that day. While my my vantage point was far from perfect, I wouldn’t trade that moment in time for anything:

What I witnessed was the faith of the people, the love they had for this man — this saint — and the emotion they felt at the moment of the Beatification. Literally pressed against one another, when the time came to exchange the sign of peace our greetings were exchanged in a multitude of languages, but with a conviction that we are one, holy, catholic and apostolic. Had Blessed John Paul II been at an event like this, I tend to think he might have preferred my vantage point in the “cheap seats” to those who held VIP passes to the front row. My fellow pilgrims, old and young, white and black, cradle Catholics and fervent converts, came together in our discomfort to celebrate the life of a man who changed not only our lives, but also our Church, but also our world.

A year and a half later, we continue to pray through the intercession of Blessed John Paul II. I feel assured that his cause will advance. It’s my great desire to again be in the “cheap seats” for his canonization. It’s funny: prior to attending the Beatification I had written a chapter on the life of Pope John Paul II for my A Book of Saints for Catholic MomsThat work was re-written after my visit to the Vatican, as were my impressions of this amazing man, the first Pope I ever really “knew” in my own heart.

I’d imagine many of you share my personal sense of “this is what he meant to me” with Blessed John Paul II. Feel free to use the comboxes today to pray through his intercession for special intentions in your life or to share a word on how his life and theology have impacted you. Blessed JP II, we love you!



About Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa Hendey is the founder and webmaster of and the author of The Grace of YesA Book of Saints for Catholic Moms and The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and is a frequent television and radio guest and host. Visit her at

  • Stefanie

    My adult confirmandi were discussing JPII & Papa B during our class yesterday. I found it interesting that these 30 to 20-year olds still regard JPII with great affection and outright love. They spoke of him as you would love a beloved uncle who always had the welcome-mat out for you and was always willing to overlook your faults, “everyone is welcome …and bring your friends, too”

    With PapaB, they very much respect him because he is the pope, but they also see in him someone like an elderly grandpa or grandma who will quietly remind you that you need to dress nice for church and go to confession often, who is right about many things and will take every opportunity to remind you of the right things they know — but you may not necessarily feel comfortable bringing your friends around them…and may roll your eyes in front of your friends at the things your grandparents say and do — even though secretly, you know in your heart that your grandparents’ way of being faithful to God and the Church is proper and time-tested.

  • lisahendey

    Stefanie, thanks for sharing their impressions. It’s funny, in the end I think I will ultimately perhaps have an even greater fondness for BXV1, but that’s likely because I have had the opportunity to see him in person — something I never did with JPII. Being at the Beatification and very close to him at a Wednesday audience completely changed my impressions of him. I’m sure I’ll never get any closer to him than I have been already, but having had that opportunity has “softened” him in my mind, if that makes sense. And for the fact that both men have so openly embraced the role of emerging technologies in the New Evangelization, I love them both!

  • Stefanie

    Oh, I LOVE Papa Benny. We both were given our current Church jobs — against our preference — in the very same week in 2005 — me, RCIA Director; Papa B, Pope. In many ways, we are kindred spirits, faced with the same challenges — both within the Church we love and outside of the Church.
    Whenever I feel overwhelmed by the human Church, I remember how steadfast BXVI is — his homily’s SOAR. And I remember, in my teaching of the faith and discernment of those in the process of becoming Catholic, I must always represent the Church’s teachings — from Day 1 to this day, with passion, love, and humility. Just like he does.