Pope John Paul II laughs while speaking with Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini on board a papal flight in 1991. CNS photo/Arturo Mari, L’Osservatore Romano

Pope John Paul II: Why we must remember

  • April 3, 2014

April 2 was the ninth anniversary of the death of Blessed John Paul II and the first “Pope John Paul II Day” in the province of Ontario. A private member’s bill passed by the Ontario legislature last month designated April 2 as a day to honour the soon to be saint. It’s a worthy initiative and a timely reminder to remember the late pontiff’s teachings.

Conservative MPP Frank Klees had introduced a bill to establish April 2 as Pope John Paul II Day on that very date in 2007. The private member’s bill languished for several years, reportedly blocked by then-premier Dalton McGuinty. Last year, after McGuinty’s resignation, the cause was taken up by Liberal MPP Dipika Damerla, who is not Catholic but represents the riding of Mississauga-Cooksville, home to a large Polish-Canadian community. The riding includes the large Polish parish of St. Maximilian Kolbe, nearby to which is the John Paul II Cultural Centre. A massive celebration is planned there when John Paul is canonized on April 27.

The federal MP for the same riding, Wladyslaw Lizon, has introduced a similar bill in Ottawa to designate April 2 as John Paul II Day for all of Canada. It has passed the House of Commons but is being held up by the Liberal members in the Senate. Hopefully it will be passed in time for next year’s 10th anniversary.

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