Home > News > Archive > 5th April 2005

Marking passing of great man

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier

Pope John Paul IIThe public of Te Awamutu is invited to attend a combined mass at St Patrick’s Catholic Church tomorrow to pay respects to Pope John Paul II.

The service, which will also be attended by St Patrick’s School children, will take place from 9.15am and all are welcome to attend, says father Vincent Jones of St Patrick’s.

The Pope passed away in his Vatican apartment at 7.37am Sunday morning, as local churchgoers were preparing for Sunday morning services.

A larger than normal gathering at St Patrick’s participated in a mass offered for the repose of Pope John Paul II’s soul.

Father Jones told the Courier that the Pope’s death signified the passing of a great man, who had been devoted to the Catholic Church and whose 26 year papacy was the third longest in history.

“He did more to upset the communists reign than anyone else in the 20th Century.”

Father Jones said that although the Pope’s death was to be expected (after a long period of frailty and failing health), it was still an emotional time.

Wednesday morning’s mass in Te Awamutu will be led by Father Maurice Drumm, as Father Jones will be in Wellington, for the installation of father John Dew as the new Arch Bishop of Wellington on Thursday. The installation will be conducted by the College of Bishops, with Cardinal Thomas Williams, who would normally perform the service, on his way to Rome to assist in the choosing of the next Pope.


A brief bio of the path to Rome of His Holiness Pope John Paul II:

Karol Jozef Wojtyla was born on May 18, 1920 in Wadowice, Poland, second son of a retired army sergeant and a mother of Lithuanian origin.

At the age of 18 he moved to Krakow, where he entered the Jagellonian University. The following year the Nazis closed the
university, and to escape death or deportation the students merged with the population, becoming labourers.

In 1942 - having lost all immediate family, Karol commenced secret studies for priesthood during the Nazi occupation.

On November 1, 1946 Father Karol Jozef Wojtyla was ordained into the Roman Catholic priesthood after years of secret study during the Nazi occupation. In 1946 after being ordained in Krakow, he later completed studies at pontifical universities in Rome and then returned to Poland.

In 1958 he was consecrated assistant Bishop of Krakow. He was named Archbishop of Krakow in 1964.

On June 26, 1967 he was created a Cardinal by Pope Paul VI.

On October 16, 1978 Pope John Paul II was elected the first non-Italian Pope in 455 years. His Pontificate began officially six days later.