Blessed John Paul II greets the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican in this Dec. 25, 2002, file photo. CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, EPA

Divine providence, divine mercy

  • April 23, 2014

ROME - John Paul will be canonized a saint on Divine Mercy Sunday, just as he was beatified in 2011 on Divine Mercy Sunday. It is not just because he designated the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday in the great jubilee year 2000, but because of his extraordinarily providential death in 2005.

John Paul lived a life that that was marked by divine providence in remarkable ways. The most dramatic was surely the assassination attempt on May 13, 1981 — Feast of Our Lady of Fatima — and the links between Fatima and the fight against Soviet communism and totalitarian atheism. John Paul famously said that in divine providence there are no mere coincidences, and therefore read his life in providential terms. When it came time to die, that was more clear than ever before.

John Paul died at 9:37 p.m. on Saturday, April 2. As he lay dying that evening, his longtime secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, offered the Holy Mass in the Holy Father’s room. The dying pope would receive Holy Communion — a drop of the Precious Blood — for the final time at that Mass.

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