Pope Benedict says prayer, mission were foundations of John Paul's life

By  Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
  • April 11, 2011
Pope John Paul II is seen in a promotional image for the Polish-produced documentary, VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul II's life and ministry were built on prayer and on witnessing to the Gospel, Pope Benedict XVI said after watching a Polish-produced documentary about his predecessor.

"Once again I want to underline the two foundations of his life and ministry: prayer and missionary zeal," the pope said April 9 after a Vatican screening of the documentary, "John Paul II: I Kept Looking for You."

Pope Benedict watched the film in the early evening with the director and producers, several cardinals and Vatican officials.

After the screening, he said: "John Paul II was a great contemplative and a great apostle. God chose him for the see of Peter and protected him so he could lead the church into the third millennium. With his example he guided us all in this pilgrimage and still continues to accompany us from heaven."

The film was directed by Jaroslaw Szmidt and has been playing in Polish theaters since March 11; Tadeusz Lampka, one of the producers, told reporters at the Vatican that 300,000 people had seen the film in Poland in its first month on the big screen.

The producers plan on having DVDs of the film in several languages ready for sale by May 1, when Pope Benedict beatifies his predecessor.

The film concentrates on Pope John Paul's pontificate and includes some 50 interviews.

Among the spiritual leaders interviewed are the Dalai Lama; Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople; and Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, a former chief rabbi of Israel.

Pope John Paul's closest aides appear in the documentary, as do journalists, an Italian actor, Polish and Italian politicians and Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan.

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