Prayer for beatification of John Paul II
'We hope, like your Cardinal Stanislaw, that in the foreseeable future we will enjoy the beatification and canonisation of John Paul II', said Benedict XVI in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. These were his first spontaneous words during his pilgrimage to Poland.
The people gathered in the shrine of the Virgin of Kalwaria applauded these words and cheered 'Thank you!' and 'We love you.' The Pope expressed what was the common feeling of us all', said Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the Vatican spokesman, two hours later during a press conference in Krakow.
After his arrival in Kalwaria the Pope went to the Chapel of Our Lady of Kalwaria where he prayed for a while in silence. Afterwards he donated to the Mother of God a rosary, which he himself brought to the altar. He entered his signature into the Commemorative Book of he Shrine.
Subsequently, the Pope proceeded to the empty Basilica of Our Lady of Angels, from which he headed for the courtyard to see an exhibition of the life of John Paul II and his relationships with Kalwaria. The monks, Franciscans, presented the Pope with a copy of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Kalwaria.
The Pope went at a fast pace to the square in front of the basilica where crowds waited for him. They were mainly pilgrims who had been connected with the shrine for years and now they came to meet the Pope. The meeting was to take only 15 minutes but it was considerably prolonged.
The Holy Father was officially greeted in the Shrine by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who reminded that it was in this very place that John Paul II asked for prayers. Cardinal Dziwisz extended his words of thanks to the present Pope for his joining the thousands of faithful who pray here for the Polish Pope, in particular for his beatification and canonisation.
Benedict XVI said that in accordance with the wish of his Predecessor, he prayed in his intention and he also asked for prayers for himself and the whole Church.
It was Benedict XVI's second visit to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. He arrived here for the first time in 1988 as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
- This is a great honour to our Sanctuary. It is the third time that the Pope has visited us. John Paul II asked us to pray for him. And now the request was repeated by Benedict XVI. This is an obligation we must take on, said Fr Damian Muskus, custodian of the shrine in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska.