Saint John XXIII & Saint John Paul II Prayer Book

Page 1

St John XXIII & St John Paul II Prayer Book compiled by Joanna Bogle

All booklets are published thanks to the generous support of the members of the Catholic Truth Society


b. St John XXII & St John Paul II Prayer Book.indd 1

13/03/2014 16:56


Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Spiritual Biographies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 The Saints they loved . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 How they prayed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 The Holy Rosary - Meditations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 The Stations of the Cross - Meditations . . . . . . . . . . . 42 The Divine Mercy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Prayers on themes close to their hearts . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 A Novena to St John XXIII . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 A Novena to St John Paul II. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

All rights reserved. First published 2014 by The Incorporated Catholic Truth Society, 40-46 Harleyford Road London SE11 5AY Tel: 020 7640 0042 Fax: 020 7640 0046. © 2014 The Incorporated Catholic Truth Society. Inside images: Page 64, Pope John XIII in Rome, 1963 © Bettman/Corbis; Page 70, Pope John Paul II in York, England, 1982 © Louie Psihoyos/Corbis. ISBN 978 1 86082 916 1

b. St John XXII & St John Paul II Prayer Book.indd 2

13/03/2014 16:56


Introduction It was a magnificent moment in the 2,000-year history of the Catholic Church: two Popes were canonised together. John XXIII and John Paul II - two great men, both serving in the office of Peter, both making a great impact on the life of the Church and the events of their time. In canonising someone as a saint, the Church makes that person part of the “canon� of what we believe. That person is now a saint, part of the great company of saints whose lives have enriched the Church down the centuries. When a Pope canonises someone, that is an infallible act we can be certain that the person is in heaven, in the very presence of God, and can hear our prayers and respond to them. This Prayer Book is at once a memento of this extraordinary event, and a practical resource for prayer. During their lives, both John XXIII and John Paul II taught about prayer, both by their preaching and by their example. We can pray with them - using the prayers they knew and loved, invoking the intercession of the saints that they loved - and, following their canonisation, we can pray to them, asking for their aid as we open our hearts to God.

b. St John XXII & St John Paul II Prayer Book.indd 3

13/03/2014 16:56


This is a Prayer Book to use at home or in Church, to dip into for special prayers, or to use as a devotional manual for the Stations of the Cross or the Rosary. It also includes novenas to these two new saints. May they intercede for us, and for the Church they loved and served so well.

b. St John XXII & St John Paul II Prayer Book.indd 4

13/03/2014 16:56


Spiritual Biographies John XXIII - Angelo Roncalli Born in 1881, the third of thirteen children in a farming family in rural Italy, Angelo Roncalli was known as a cheerful, affectionate and devout boy, and few were surprised when he went, at the age of twelve, to the junior seminary to begin training for the priesthood. He was ordained in 1904. During the First World War, he served as an orderly, and then as a chaplain, in the Italian Army, a formative experience. He never forgot the experience of ministering to the wounded, later remembering: “It often happened - permit me this personal memory - that I had to fall on my knees and cry like a child, alone in my room, unable to contain the emotion I felt at the simple and holy deaths of so many of the poor sons of our people.” He had always assumed that he would be an ordinary parish priest, but things worked out differently: in 1922 he was appointed “Apostolic Visitor” to Bulgaria, representing the Pope in a country where Catholics were very much a minority. In the ten years that he spent there, he became immensely popular for his tact, wisdom and common sense in dealing with relationships between Orthodox and Catholic believers, and caring for the needs of an impoverished and far-flung Catholic population. His next appointment was

b. St John XXII & St John Paul II Prayer Book.indd 5

13/03/2014 16:56


in Turkey, where the religious situation was even more complex with a large Muslim majority. He was able, during World War II, to work through diplomatic channels to save the lives of Jewish people in German-occupied Greece. Appointed Nuncio in France in the final months of World War II, he had to deal with the complications of a very divided country, but this was also a time when he met the new generation of theologians such as Henri de Lubac who emphasised a return to the Fathers of the Church and to study of the Scriptures, ideas that would be fruitful in the years ahead. Then came the appointment as Archbishop of Venice: he spent six years in this role and was immensely happy there. In 1958, on the death of Pius XII he was elected Pope. John XXIII’s announcement of the Second Vatican Council took the Church and the world by surprise - he was not young and had been expected to be a “caretaker pope”. It is unlikely that he foresaw the immense changes - and in some cases the chaos and confusion - that occurred in the Church in the years that immediately followed the Council. His own formation had been one of traditional piety. As a young teenager in a junior seminary, wearing clerical dress and obeying strict rules of behaviour centred on a structured day of prayer and study, his life could not have been more different from that of a new generation in the newly emerging youth culture of the 1960s. As a priest and a bishop he showed no particular interest in the idea of

b. St John XXII & St John Paul II Prayer Book.indd 6

13/03/2014 16:56


celebrating Mass in the vernacular or launching ecumenical discussions with non-Catholic Christian denominations such as the Anglicans or Methodists. His personal spiritual life, as revealed in his Journal of a Soul - later published and hugely popular - was centred on faithfulness to the Church’s traditional prayers and practices. His aims in calling an ecumenical Council seem to have been partly to celebrate the Church’s success in meeting the challenges of the modern era - industrialisation, mass communication, rapid social changes - and partly to respond to the sense of a need for a fresh approach following the horrors of two world wars. The early 1960s were a time of optimism in Western countries and the Council opened in that spirit. Pope John has been associated in the popular mind with that optimism, and with a genial and kindly image of the Papacy and the Church. Many people have wrongly assumed that he was at heart a man committed to revolutionary change in the Church, but this is far from the truth: he was a man of meticulous attention to traditional rules and his deep spiritual life was nourished by a piety rooted in time-honoured forms of prayer including novenas, fasting, the Rosary, regular confession, pilgrimages, visits to shrines and places of devotion, and of course daily Mass and celebration of the Church’s feasts and seasons. Fifty years after the Second Vatican Council, and following a special Year of Faith, “Good Pope John” is

b. St John XXII & St John Paul II Prayer Book.indd 7

13/03/2014 16:56


now officially and formally announced to be among the saints in heaven. Already often described as a saint during his lifetime, he is particularly beloved in his native Italy where many churches and schools and family homes carry his picture. John Paul II - Karol Wojtyla The first ever Polish-born Pope, the most-travelled Pope in history, the founder of World Youth Day and the most significant figure in the collapse of Communism, Karol Wojtyla was born and brought up in Wadowice, a small town not far from Krakow. His mother and his older brother died while he was still a child, and he and his widowed father lived together in a flat next to the parish church. World War II broke out while Wojtyla was studying at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University: it changed everything. All Polish universities were closed by the invading Nazis. Wojtyla had to work in a stone quarry. His father died, and he no longer had a settled home - he found a room with friends. Active with an underground theatre group that aimed at keeping Polish language and culture alive, he was also a member of a “Living Rosary” prayer circle. Despite his known devotion, his decision to become a priest surprised his friends. Some tried hard to dissuade him, believing this a waste of his gifts and scholarship. However, after studying secretly with others under the direction of the Archbishop (all Polish seminaries had

b. St John XXII & St John Paul II Prayer Book.indd 8

13/03/2014 16:56


been closed by the Nazis) Wojtyla was ordained after the war ended, and was sent for further studies in Rome. Poland’s tragic war years were followed by a new era of hardship under Communism. The young Fr Wojtyla’s first appointment on returning home was in a remote rural parish, where he shared the poverty of the local people and succeeded in getting a new church built. Then followed work in a city parish in Krakow which he combined with lecturing at the Catholic University in Lublin. These were difficult years under Communist rule with harsh living conditions, and a ban on any attempts at opposition to State policies. The Church faced many restrictions and an atmosphere of fear and distrust was fostered by the use of police spies and the spreading of anti-Christian propaganda. Fr Wojtyla encouraged a sense of friendship and openness among the young people he taught, and took groups out on hiking and canoeing expeditions in the mountains, which allowed for freedom of discussion away from listening ears. Mass was celebrated by the lakeside, using an upturned canoe as an altar. Friendships forged on these trips lasted a lifetime and years later as Pope, he was still attending reunions and celebrating Mass for the children and grandchildren of the original participants. He was away on such a canoeing expedition when he received news of his appointment as auxiliary Bishop of Krakow. As bishop, and later Archbishop, he became a popular figure - among much else, he championed the

b. St John XXII & St John Paul II Prayer Book.indd 9

13/03/2014 16:56


rights of the people in the new steelworks town of Nowa Huta, regularly celebrating Mass for them in the open air as they fought to build a church, and finally consecrating the Ark Church erected in defiance of the authorities. His election as Pope in 1978 was one of the most dramatic and important events in modern history. No one had seriously considered that a bishop from the “Church of silence” could be elected as Bishop of Rome. He took the name John Paul II, honouring Pope John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul I, his immediate predecessor. From the moment John Paul II arrived on the balcony of St Peter’s and bantered with the crowd, urging them to correct his Italian if he got it wrong, there was a sense of something entirely new happening. When, after prolonged negotiations, it became possible for him to make a formal visit to Poland, the whole nation turned out to greet him. Vast crowds lined the streets, every shop and house and block of flats was decorated with papal and Polish flags, people threw flowers, and any carefully contrived attempts by the Communist authorities to control events proved worthless. At a great public Mass in Warsaw he called upon the Holy Spirit to “descend upon this land”, and spoke about the dignity of human beings and human history, from which God could never be excluded. His nine-day pilgrimage created a new atmosphere throughout the country, bringing a sense of impending change that the Communist authorities were unable to prevent or control.

b. St John XXII & St John Paul II Prayer Book.indd 10

13/03/2014 16:56


On May 13th 1981, in St Peter’s Square, a gunman fired at John Paul at point-blank range. With blood pouring from his wounds, the Pope was rushed to hospital. He was heard praying “Mary, my mother” before he lost consciousness. It was feared that he would die: the bullet had ripped through his stomach and had torn his intestines, missing other vital organs only by a fraction of a centimetre. Days later, when it was clear he would survive, the Pope broadcast a message. His first words were of forgiveness to his would-be killer. The assassination attempt took place on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima (May 13th), and in due course the Pope sent for the famous “Third Secret” revealed by Our Lady to the young visionaries at Fatima in 1917. Mary had asked the children to pray, promising them that “Russia would be converted” - in the “Third Secret”, which John Paul would publish in 2000, it emerged that they had seen a vision of a “bishop in white” who fell to the ground after being shot, having climbed over many other martyrs. As a symbol of the suffering Church of the 20th century, it was powerful and dramatic. In 1982, a year to the day after the shooting, John Paul went to Fatima and placed the bullet that almost killed him in the crown of the statue of Our Lady. A decade later, Communism was over, all of Eastern Europe was free, Russia was no longer officially atheist and churches were reopening in all its towns and cities, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had ceased to exist.

b. St John XXII & St John Paul II Prayer Book.indd 11

13/03/2014 16:56


John Paul’s special bond with youth continued throughout his pontificate, and he inspired and established World Youth Day, a great rallying of young Catholics for prayer, talks, processions, all-night vigils, and more. He developed good friendships with the Jewish people - building on initiatives opened by John XXIII back in the 1960s and by the strong denunciation of anti-Jewish sentiments in Nostra Aetate, the Declaration of the Church in relation to non-Christian Religions, published in 1965 during the Second Vatican Council. He initiated ecumenical discussions with leaders of different Christian denominations, and ensured that common prayer and ecumenical events were part of every papal visit to a country. His visits to the different countries of the world became legendary. In a dramatic initiative emphasising the need to pray for peace, John Paul II invited representatives of all the world’s faiths to join him at Assisi: images of them exchanging messages of goodwill went around the world. The threat of nuclear war, which had hovered over the world since the immediate post-World War II years, receded, especially with the collapse of Communism, and John Paul’s concern was increasingly drawn to new developments: the horror of abortion, the rise in consumerism, attacks on marriage and on the transmission of life itself and the plight of the world’s poor. As one of the major events marking the start of a new Millennium, John Paul II led a dramatic service asking for

b. St John XXII & St John Paul II Prayer Book.indd 12

13/03/2014 16:56


God’s forgiveness for man’s sins, including the sins of the Church. He urged the Church to walk ahead with a sense of fresh hope and with trust in God. By now frail with Parkinson’s Disease, John Paul II gave a powerful witness in his last years to the value of suffering borne with courage. When he died in 2005, some three million people attended his funeral, along with the leading figures from every country on earth.

b. St John XXII & St John Paul II Prayer Book.indd 13

13/03/2014 16:56


The Saints they loved Prayer to the saints has been part of the life of the Church since the very earliest days when Mass was celebrated on the tombs of martyrs in pagan Rome. John XXIII and John Paul II both believed in and taught the great value of asking the saints in heaven to intercede for us. John Paul II canonised more saints than all the other Popes in history put together. Like all Catholics, John XXIII and John Paul II had “favourite� saints and both of them wrote and spoke of the holy men and women whose lives had inspired them and whose aid they invoked in prayer. Favourite Saints of John XXIII St Joseph John XXIII is responsible for the fact that you hear the name of St Joseph in the Canon of the Mass. In November 1962 - while the Second Vatican Council was still in progress - he formally announced that the name of St Joseph would be added to the saints listed. Pressure for this had begun a hundred years earlier, when supporters of the idea raised it with bishops in Rome at the First Vatican Council. As Pope, John XXIII had the authority to make the decision. He was criticised by

b. St John XXII & St John Paul II Prayer Book.indd 14

13/03/2014 16:56


some at the time. But it seems clear that he was convinced, not by his own personal devotion to St Joseph, but by the theological arguments put forward, concerning St Joseph’s deep closeness to Christ and his role as guardian of the Holy Family. That said, John XXIII did have a deep personal love of St Joseph, and he composed this prayer, thinking particularly of fathers who, in times of rapid social change, need inspiration and care more than ever before. John XXIII’s Prayer to St Joseph St Joseph, guardian of Jesus and chaste husband of Mary, you passed your life in loving fulfilment of duty. You supported the holy family of Nazareth with the work of your hands. Kindly protect those who trustingly come to you. You know their aspirations, their hardships, their hopes. They look to you because they know you will understand and protect them. You too knew trial, labour and weariness. But amid the worries of material life, your soul was full of deep peace and sang out in true joy through intimacy with God’s Son entrusted to you

b. St John XXII & St John Paul II Prayer Book.indd 15

13/03/2014 16:56


and with Mary, his tender Mother. Assure those you protect that they do not labour alone. Teach them to find Jesus near them and to watch over Him faithfully as you have done. St Charles Borromeo John XXIII had a great interest in the life and work of St Charles Borromeo and wrote a five-volume biography of him. St Charles Borromeo was one of the outstanding figures of the 16th century. He was a nephew of Pope Pius IV, who appointed him a cardinal as a young layman: this was not unusual at the time but Charles was to become a great and holy priest and bishop. He began to take his faith seriously after his brother died and, after ordination as a priest and appointment as Bishop of Milan, he became one of the great reformers of the Church, living in personal austerity while giving all that he had to the poor and the sick. He became a hero during years of plague and was known to be the one person to whom anyone could turn in all kinds of trouble or distress. Borromeo was an influential figure at the Council of Trent - it was partly due to his persuasion that the Council was re-convened after a gap of several years - and, in studying Borromeo’s role, John XXIII came to see the Council of Trent not as primarily anti-Protestant but as a great reforming Council which inspired and prepared the

b. St John XXII & St John Paul II Prayer Book.indd 16

13/03/2014 16:56