Tag: St. Pope John Paul II

The ‘Priest’ Who Shot The Pope.

The ‘Priest’ Who Shot The Pope.

Mehmet Ali Agca greets St. Pope John Paul II, after the Holy father paid him a visit in prison.

The Priest Who Shot the Pope.

Have you heard the news?

Mehmet Ali Agca expressed his wish to become a Catholic priest. If you don’t know who Ali Agca is, or if you have forgotten; I will tell you. Agca is a fifty eight year old Turkish national, who was neither involved in the recent attack on the airport in Istanbul, nor the attempted coup. But on Wednesday 13 May 1981, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima and the anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, Agca it was, who showed up at St. Peter’s Square with a determination to change the course of history; he had come to kill the Pope who later became a Saint.

Ali Agca shot St. Karol Jozef Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) four times before he was overpowered and arrested. A brave nun rather than scamper off at the sound of gunshots and the sight of a badly wounded Pope, actually participated in the physical takedown of Agca. For his efforts, and on account of murders he had previously committed, he served time until 2010. 

During that time, Pope John Paul II visited him in prison, forgave him, met his mother, and his brother, and pleaded Agca’s cause for leniency. On his part, Agca wrote to a very ill Pope John Paul II shortly before the Pontiff’s death in 2005 and has visited the tomb of the late Pope. Let us say that the story of Pope John Paul II and Ali Agca is the story of violence, of repentance and of forgiveness.

Now, Ali Agca wants to be an Apostle Paul. At fifty eight, he wants to become a priest. He has told the world via an interview on Italian Television “Canale 5” that he would, if Pope Francis permits, pray with the Pope and become a priest.

“After John Paul II visited me in prison, I thought about it, and I studied the Gospel at length, I know the sacred books better than many others. If the Pope welcomes me, I’ll be a priest and I will celebrate Mass, if he wants me.”

Becoming a priest is not the only desire of Ali Agca along the path of his spiritual journey. There, he hopes to pray with Pope Francis. “I’ll pray there, maybe even together with the pope, to the Madonna, my spiritual mother”. 

The picture of Ali Agca in Portugal, standing next to Pope Francis in the midst of Cardinals, praying to Our Lady will be beamed via satellite to a startled world -the wonders of God’s ways on display. 

A kiss of peace and a warm embrace with the world standing still to salute its latest wonder. In this age of new media, the picture will be tweeted and re-tweeted, posted on YouTube and Facebook, on Instagram and on whatsapp.

It is to the matter of his priestly vocation that I return. If Pope Francis accedes to his request, Ali Agca will presently enrol in a seminary and following requisite formation be ordained a Deacon, and then a priest. Depending on whether he is a missionary priest, or one incardinated in a Diocese, his superior or his Bishop will post him to a pastoral assignment. 

His homily will be laced with personal examples and stories of a lifetime of ironies. “Fr. Ali Agca” will hear confessions and officiate as a minister of the Eucharist. When he shall have proved himself as worthy of the Bishop’s trust, he may be assigned to administer the sacrament of confirmation on behalf of the Bishop. His parish, or station if he is in an outstation, will host not just worshippers; many will come just to see the priest who shot the Pope.

I can hear many saying God Forbid that he becomes a Priest, but it does not depend on us. Ali Agca is awaiting words from the Pope, and although it is most unlikely that he will receive the much awaited Papal nod, his life is only a reflection of the vagaries of our own human existence. If my catechism teacher is to be believed, then many of us have shot the Pope in our thoughts and in our words; in deeds and misdeeds not directly related, but equally injurious to faith and morals.

The Story Of St. Pope John Paul II And The Mysterious Homeless Man 

The Story Of St. Pope John Paul II And The Mysterious Homeless Man 

Pope Francis recounted this well known story in the Vatican about his saintly predecessor

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is not the first pope to have a heart for the homeless, as he himself attests.

In a new interview with an Italian magazine run by homeless people, “Scarp de’ tenis” [i.e. “Tennis shoes” or “Sneakers”], Pope Francis recounts a famous story told in the Vatican about Pope John Paul II and a mysterious homeless man.


As the story is perhaps less well known outside the Vatican walls, here we share it with our readers. Below is the exchange from the interview.


Question: Your Holiness, when you meet a homeless person what is the first thing you say to him?


Pope Francis: “Good morning. How are you?” Sometimes one exchanges a few words, other times one enters into relationship and listens to interesting stories: “I studied at a Catholic boarding school; there was a good priest….” Someone might say: why should this interest me? But people who live on the street understand immediately when there’s real interest on the part of the other person, or when there is — I don’t want to say ‘that feeling of compassion’ but certainly one of pain. One can see a homeless person and look at him as a person, or like a dog. And they are well aware of these different ways of looking at them.


There is a famous story in the Vatican about a homeless person, of Polish origin, who usually stayed in Piazza Risorgimento in Rome. He didn’t speak to anyone, not even the Caritas volunteers who brought him a hot meal in the evening. Only after a long time did they manage to have him tell his story: “I am a priest. I know your pope well; we studied together in seminary,” he said. Word arrived to St. John Paul II, who heard the name, confirmed he was in seminary with him, and wanted to meet him. They embraced after 40 years, and at the end of the audience the Pope asked the priest, who had been his companion in seminary, to hear his confession. “Now it is your turn,” Pope John Paul II said. And his companion from seminary went to confession with the Pope. Thanks to the gesture of one volunteer, a hot meal, a few words of comfort, and a look of kindness, this person recovered and resumed a normal life that led him to become a hospital chaplain. The pope helped him. Certainly this is a miracle, but it is also an example to say that homeless people have a great dignity.


At the archbishop’s palace in Buenos Aires, under a doorway between the grates there lived a family and a couple. I met them every morning on my way out. I greeted them and always exchanged a few words with them. I never thought of driving them away. Someone said to me: “They dirty the Curia,” but the dirt is inside. I think we need to talk to people with great humanity, not as if they had to repay us a debt, and not treating them as though they were poor dogs.

How A Man Falsely Accused Of Murder And Rape Got His Name Cleared Through St. Pope John Paul II’s Intercessions 

How A Man Falsely Accused Of Murder And Rape Got His Name Cleared Through St. Pope John Paul II’s Intercessions 

Touched by his story, Pope Francis later embraced Tomasz Komenda in Rome, during one of his Wednesday Weekly Audience.


It’s a real miracle. An incredible, inspiring story. 

In 2000, a 23-year-old Polish man, Tomasz Komenda, was accused of rape and murder of a young 15-year-old girl. Despite his denials, he was found guilty due to scientific “proof” — two experts confirmed that the teeth marks found on the victim’s body matched those belonging to Komenda.

Once in prison, the young man was in a veritable hell. Rapists were harassed, humiliated, and sometimes even tortured by their fellow inmates. And Komenda couldn’t rely on the prison guards to ensure some sort of protection and order. As he explained in an interview with a Polish TV show, they “looked away.”

His prayer to St. John Paul II

As he was unable to convince anyone of his innocence, the young man looked for help elsewhere. Although an unbeliever, he started praying to John Paul II. At the top of his bed, the Polish pope looked at him, smiling, in a photo given to him from his mother. “If you are a saint,” prayed Komenda, “You are in heaven with this girl. If you must take me up there, take me now. If I must be free, let me be free.”


TOMASZ KOMENDA

AFP

Six months after this cry from the heart, a policeman knocked at his prison cell. He didn’t believe in this young man’s guilt and would help him prove his innocence. After a year of legal disputes Komenda was cleared. “The Holy Father heard me,” he shared joyously. And when he was released in mid-May, he immediately promised to go to Rome to thank John Paul II, at his tomb.

“Only those who keep their word are respected” claims a Polish proverb. And Komenda kept his word. Less than a month after his release from prison he was in St. Peter’s Basilica, surrounded by his mother and father, where he prayed privately in front of the altar where John Paul II is buried.

Pope Francis touched by his story

Komenda was unaware that his story had reached as far as the Vatican. The Papal Almoner, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, who also happens to be Polish, had got wind of the story. The now freshly-appointed cardinal contacted the family and invited them to accompany him to St. Peter’s Square, where Pope Francis holds his general audience on Wednesdays.

TOMASZ KOMENDA

AFP PHOTO | OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Divine Providence has a way of doing things. The family got as far as the pontiff himself, and were asked to say a few words. Touched by what he heard, Francis spontaneously held Komenda in his arms for a long time. He then asked his photographer to take some photos of him with the young man.

The story doesn’t end there. The Komenda family were invited to dine with the then-Archbishop Krajewski. The meal was prepared by a once-homeless man named Enzo, who had also spent many years behind bars. “I will prepare him a feast like he has never had before!” exclaimed the chef.

Manila Cathedral Receives St. John Paul II’s Special Relic: A Vial Of His Blood

Manila Cathedral Receives St. John Paul II’s Special Relic: A Vial Of His Blood

Cardinal Dziwisz makes Christmas gift to Filipino Catholics.

The cathedral in Manila was blessed with a special gift this Christmas: a first-class relic of St. John Paul II — a vial of his blood given by his longtime aide Cardinal Stanislaus Dziwisz, archbishop emeritus of Krakow.

The rare relic was brought by a Poland-based Filipino nun who arrived in Manila on December 11.

“We hope to find a proper reliquary for it soon so that we could expose it for the veneration of the faithful,” a statement from the cathedral said.

John Paul II celebrated Mass at the Manila Cathedral in February 1981. Two months later he named the cathedral a minor basilica.

“It’s a great honor for the Manila Cathedral, our Mother Church, to be the custodian of this precious relic,” Church officials said.

The cathedral is currently celebrating the 60th anniversary of its post-war construction.

St. Pope John Paul II, Pray For Us! 

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