(Vatican Radio) Wednesday marks the ninth anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul
II, who is to be canonized later this month, along with Pope John XXIII. The prelate,
who nine years ago on 2 April announced the death of Pope John Paul II, says the emotion
he felt that night was great and has only doubled in light of the late pontiff’s upcoming
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, currently prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches but then Substitute for General Affairs to the Secretary of State, said he feels “unworthy and far from having been an instrument, in that moment, of someone who was a true evangelist, a man of peace, … of a person who lived with great austerity and with great poverty throughout his ministry.”
In an interview with Vatican Radio, Cardinal Sandri recalled John Paul II’s “deep humanity”, which he attributed to the late pontiff’s experience of suffering, persecution, personal loss, and his youth and ministry in his native Poland, an environment made hostile by the regime.
“This humanity was crowned by God with the gifts of the Holy Spirit,” he said.
He remarked on John Paul II’s friendliness, his great culture – the result of his studies, he said – his knowledge of people, of different languages and of the world.
The cardinal said he admired the late pope’s austerity. “Even on the last day of his life when he was on his deathbed, … he was stripped bare, even from the material point of view. No luxury surrounded him,” he said.
The cardinal said the canonization gives certainty to the popular proclamation of John Paul II's holiness at the time of his death.
“We, faithful, who believe he was a saint since we knew him, or those who proclaimed him ‘santo subito’ in St Peter’s Square, now have the certainty from the authority of the Church … this man is a saint and is therefore close to God …. He already sees (the Lord) and this is guaranteed to us by the Supreme Pontiff of the Church, who is Pope Francis.”
Pope Francis will canonize both Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII in a ceremony in St. Peter’s Square, 27 April.
Listen to the report by Laura Ieraci: