You are like a grandfather to me. I encountered you so many times: World Youth Day Denver 1993, World Youth Day Paris 1997, Rome 1997 when you made our dear St. Therese a Doctor of the Church. Countless Wednesday audiences and even a visit to the courtyard at Castel Gondolfo in the summer of 2000. I brought in the New Year with you for the Great Jubilee, toasting you and celebrating with you in St. Peter’s Square.
Each time I saw you, I could have felt lost in a sea of faithful. Never. I always felt that you were speaking to me. That you were allowing Christ’s love to pour out of your very existence so that I could encounter Him in you. When I hear your voice on a recording or the television, it’s the voice so familiar, it feels like family.
You are family, dear Papa. You are family to me. And today, I rejoice, that my dear Papa John Paul is now my intercessor! It brings me so much joy to picture you at the Throne of the Father, worshiping and interceding for the faithful you loved so much.
Thank you for your love when you were here on earth. Thank you for your prayers now in heaven.
St. John Paul II, pray for us!