Papal Nuncio to open shrine of St John Paul II at Bajpe tomorrow

The shrine of St John Paul II, built in memory of his visit to Bajpe on February 6, 1986, will be inaugurated by Most Rev Dr Salvatore Pennachio, the Papal Nuncio to India, at Bajpe on November 27 at 4.30 pm.

Informing the same to media persons at Bishop’s House here on Tuesday, Mangalore Diocese Bishop Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D'Souza (who was appointed as Bishop by Pope John Paul II in 1996) said the shrine has been built by the generous support of the devotees of Mangalore diocese at a cost Rs 1.5 crore.

It has an attractive statue of the Saint John Paul II which is 6 feet, given by the Papal Nuncio.

The parishioners of Bajpe Church, under the leadership of Parish Priest Fr Leo Lobo, have built the shrine at the place where the saint visited Mangalore on February 6, 1986.
Pope's visit to Bajpe

Recalling the visit of the then pope, the Bishop said that about five lakh people had gathered to have a glimpse of the pope in Bajpe.
The Bishop also recalled the address and message of the pope, who had addressed the gathering both in Konkani and in Kannada saying, "Blessed are those who believe in the Lord God".

Interestingly, Pope John Paul II had visited 14 cities of India proclaiming peace in 1986 from February 1 to 10 and Bajpe was one among the 14 places he visited and the people flocked from the nook and corner of neighbouring states. While 42 buses brought people from Tallichery, 25 buses came from Karwar. Besides, two special trains were arranged to help people travel from Bangalore and Kerala.

Childhood and sainthood

Born on May 18, 1920 at Wadowice, Cracknow in Poland, his childhood name was Karol Joseph Wythiva. He lost his mother at the age of nine. In the later days he also lost his beloved sister and brother. His father Carol Wythiva was a military officer and had fought against Hitler.

During World War II, he had lost everything and hence he could not continue his studies. He started to work in a quarry and later he joined a chemical industry for work. As a result of this work in the industry, he got ill. During these difficult times, he lost his father too and became an orphan.

In the year 1942, he had a change of his mind and decided to become a priest. At the age of 26, on November 1, 1946, he was ordained a priest.

In the year 1958, the 38-year-old priest was promoted as Bishop. In the year 1967, he was promoted to the rank of Cardinal and in the year 1978, at the age of 58, he was elected as the Head of the Universal Catholic Church. He was elected as the 264th Pope of the Catholic Church. As the custom of the Church, he changed his name from Karol Joseph Wythiva to John Paul II. He is also the first Pope from Poland.

One of the criteria to become a saint is healing miracle at the intercession of a person. There were instances where people had got healed when the people invoked the name of Pope John Paul II when he was alive.

Hence within the three months of his death the process of canonization of the pope had begun. Hence, he was declared "Servant of God" and then he was elevated to the stage of "Blessed" and he was canonized as "Saint Pope John Paul II" on April 27, 2014.
DH News Service

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