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The 18th Anniversary of the Death of St. John Paul II

Family News Service     April 02, 2023

The 18th Anniversary of the Death of St. John Paul II
Photo: Family News Service
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Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in the Papal Marches, organized in Poland and abroad on the 18th anniversary of the death of St. John Paul II - the organizers estimate. The largest event was organized in Warsaw, tens of thousands of people showed up in the center of the capital. The organizers of the Papal Marches emphasize that the manifestations are a testimony of attachment and pride in the life of St. John Paul II. At the same time, it is also a response to - as they say - attempts to undermine the sanctity and merits of the Polish pope.

"By participating in the March, let us thank the great Pole - John Paul II for the legacy of love and faith left to the next generations" - wrote the organizers of the Papal March in Białystok, in the east of the country. In turn, joint manifestations referred to as National Papal Marches were organized in Warsaw, Szczecin and Kraków, the city with which the future pope - first as a student, then a priest and bishop - was associated for several dozen years of his life.

The initiator of the manifestation in Warsaw, Małgorzata Żaryn, stressed that the Papal March should be an expression of unity, not an element of polarization. "We want to restore the person and teaching of the Polish Pope to our community and restore our community to us thanks to his person" - she noted.

"We want to show with all our might that the Polish Pope is an important figure for many of us and we are grateful to him for how much he has done for the Krakow and universal Church, for Poland and the world, but also for each of us," we read on the website of the Archdiocese of Krakow. . The march there was described as "white".

“The figure of John Paul II is close to me. His teaching, his charisma, his power of influence. All this meant that I didn't have to think deeply, it was just an impulse of the heart in defense of moral authority,' said actor Marcin Kwaśny about his participation in the march.

Participants in the demonstrations across the country carried crosses, national and papal flags, and there were numerous portraits of St. John Paul II. Masses were held at the end of many marches.

In addition, evening prayer meetings will be held in many places to commemorate the Pope who passed away on April 2, 2005 at 21:37. A special event is planned in the hometown of John Paul II - Wadowice. The artistic spectacle "No one will replace you" will remind you of the most important events, papal songs and homilies of St. John Paul II.

“Holy Father John Paul II said that everyone has their own Westerplatte, that is, the last outpost, the last line of defense from which one cannot retreat. I have the impression that today my Westerplatte and the Westerplatte of many Poles have been attacked. We cannot go back from this line of defense. We must stand and stay here until the end,” said TV journalist Rafał Patyra, referring to the opposition to recent publications about John Paul II.

Many of the arrivals also emphasized their disagreement with the allegations against Cardinal Wojtyła that he did not respond adequately to the protection of children and youth when he was the Metropolitan Archbishop of Krakow. These reports were questioned by numerous historians and journalists, pointing out that the authors of these materials uncritically relied on unreliable or even fabricated files of the communist secret police. The authorities of the People's Republic of Poland, hostile to the Church, never used these denunciations to attack Karol Wojtyła, a popular church hierarch, inconvenient for the communist system in Poland.