7 years ago, John Paul II was proclaimed a saint, the postulator of the canonization process remembers that special day
Canonization Mass, credit: Autorstwa Jeffrey Bruno from New York City, United States - Canonization 2014- The Canonization of Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32427710
“The mission that was entrusted to me, has been accomplished with God’s help,” says Fr. Dr. Slawomir Oder, the postulator of John Paul II’s beatification and canonization process, 7 years after canonization of the Polish Pope. The priest considers as a kind of finalization the efforts of the nearly 9-year-long mission to raise Karol Wojtyla’s parents to the altars.
April 27th, 2014 marked the history of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis declared two of his predecessors saints: John XXIII and John Paul II. For Fr. Slawomir Oder, it was a special moment, both personally and ecclesiastically.
At the beginning of this process, Pope Benedict XVI gave me a clear instruction: work fast but work well. On that day, I was conscious that I had not disappointed the expectations expressed in those words of the Holy Father, recalled the postulator of John Paul II’s canonization process.
Fr. Dr. Slawomir Oder assessed that the cult of the Polish Pope has been developing since the first days after his death and that this could already be seen in Rome in the days before the funeral. “The funeral itself was an extraordinary event, unique in the history of humanity. From that day on, pilgrimages were constantly flowing to the grave of John Paul II, asking for necessary graces through his intercession,” said Fr. Oder.
The priest is convinced that the cult of St. John Paul II will prove to be stronger than the attacks on his person and legacy. As he recalled, Jesus himself told St. Peter that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church. “The voice of John Paul II, which resounds through his teaching and the fact of the devotion with which he is surrounded by people manifesting their love for him—this voice continues to be a voice that stimulates our conscience and a prophetic voice that will always be contested by those who do not share the idea of the Church and Christianity at all,” believes Fr. Dr. Slawomir Oder.
The Honorary Prelate of the Papal Household is also a postulator in the beatification process of Karol Wojtyla’s parents, Karol and Emilia. “This is a beautiful example of the sanctity of the family, which is, in a way, the soil on which the sanctity of the next generation is born and matures,” emphasized the priest. In his opinion, the future Pope’s parents are not the only candidates worthy of having the Church reflect on their holiness.
In this context, Fr. Oder also points to the figure of Karol’s older brother, Edmund Wojtyla. The medical doctor, who died at age 26, after having contracted scarlet fever, incurable at that time, while helping a sick patient. “The message of his life and death fits, as it were, into the context of the time of the pandemic in which we are living (…) Without prejudging anything, but looking also at Edmund’s life, one might think that it is, in a way, an example of the kind of heroism that we need today,” noted Fr. Dr. Slawomir Oder.