My eulogy for St. John Paul II

The students clustered

around the television,

looking on as CNN

played before them

and their teacher

led them in prayer.

The balcony lights on the screen,

in a city so far away,

went out.

One death changed

millions of lives,

sent thousands into

tears, and ended

a splendid chapter of history.

And I didn’t care.

A child is sometimes

unaware of gravity

and I unaware of

the gravity of your death.

Eleven years ago,

eleven year-old me

was sad but not at your death,

for you were my unfamiliar papa,

a far-off guide, a picture on the wall,

and a name on the news.

But eleven years later,

you have become a dear friend,

a wise teacher, a hand on my shoulder,

and a smile in my dreams.

I could never have guessed

that, as I went through life,

I would develop a friendship

with one among the dead,

for you are my friend, dear saint,

and I cannot wait

for when we finally meet.


Today is Saint John Paul II’s feast day. It should be noted that I wrote this on his death day of this year, April 2nd, 2016. This is the story of his death day, which was a strange day at my Catholic school. I was in fifth grade when he died and though I was sad, I didn’t know too much about him to fully understand why I was sad. When I began my theology studies, I didn’t understand why everyone made such a big deal about him. Once I started reading his work and learning about him, I understood. He’s a man who combines both the heart and head of Catholicism, a man who has helped shaped the Church in ways we don’t even know about yet. He has become my friend and I can’t wait to meet him in Heaven. I love you, Papa.


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