Pope John Paul II died at about 9:37 PM (Vatican time) on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday. As soon as I heard the news this morning as I got ready for Mass, I was, despite myself, brought to my knees. Time seemed to stop. I could only shake my head with a sense of loss that seemed to come out of nowehere. My grief was, of course, tempered by Christian hope and transfigured into stupefied prayers for mercy.
John Paul II preceded us on earth to lead us to Heaven and now he precedes us in death to continue leading us there. I am honored and humbled to have been born AND received into the Church during his pontificate. He is dead, but his legacy, so deeply rooted in Christ, will shine for the ages. His work on earth is finished, but the Church will carry on with the same divine aid that animated John Paul II's life. As my priest, Fr. John, said this morning, "John Paul II prayed for us, now we must pray for him. In baptism and faith, he died with Christ, and now he will live in His resurrection."