Fr David Reilly, Westminster Diocese’s Youth Chaplain, has celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving to mark the first anniversary of the beatification of Blessed Pope John Paul II, at St Aloysius church, Somerstown.
The choir from SPEC provided a lively range of hymns to accompany the Mass.
In his homily, Fr David said that 'It was a blessing to live through the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, to learn from him and witness his fidelity to his vocation as a priest.'
'In Pope John Paul II', Fr David said that, 'We saw an outstanding witness and authentic teacher, who grabbed the attention of the whole world. His authentic integrity made him, and his message, enduring. Because he was a person who inhabited his faith and his teaching in such an immediate and profound way that it made him genuinely human and utterly convincing'.
Fr David acknowledged that Pope John Paul II lived through some of the darkest days of last century’s history, living in Poland under Nazi occupation, studying in an underground seminary, ordained secretly, living and working in the atheist, communist, regime that came after the Nazi’s in Poland. Experiencing these things without faith could only lead to despair.
'What beatifies him though,' Fr David suggested, 'is his faith - total and unswerving, even in the face of despair and his love that allowed him to serve others even in times of hardship.'
As Catholics, we remember the universal respect and admiration Pope John Paul II received very fondly and can feel truly proud and privileged to have experienced the pontificate of such an inspiring leader.