The Lethbridge Herald
Saturday A, Saturday, April 2, 2005, p. a1

[By STEPHEN TIPPER Lethbridge Herald Pope John Paul's leadership brought
people together and took the Catholic church into a new era, said local
Catholic church officials Friday]

Tipper, Stephen


Lethbridge Herald

Pope John Paul's leadership brought people together and took the Catholic
church into a new era, said local Catholic church officials Friday.

The 84-year-old pontiff's condition deteriorated further Friday. The Vatican
said his breathing was shallow and his kidneys were failing after
complications from a urinary tract infection.

Father Wilbert Chin Jon of Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Patrick's
Catholic churches said the Pope has been able to see past differences and
has reached out to leaders of other religions.

"I think he tends to see what unites us as a people, even through the
divisions," he said Friday.

As an example, he referred to the Day of Prayer for peace in the world in
January 2002, when world religious leaders met in Assisi, Italy, following
the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Pope John Paul II has also brought the church into the 21st century and
hasn't been afraid to confront real issues. He believes even technology
could be used to glorify God, said Chin Jon.

"He is able to tackle issues like technology. He is able to examine the

The Pope's shoes will not be easily filled.

Bishop Frederick Henry of the Roman Catholic of the Diocese of Calgary said
he will either be remembered as the People's Pope or as Pope John Paul the

The Pope wrote recently a priest is a person who, despite the passing of the
years, is still enthusiastic and passionate about communicating God's
message, said Henry.

That perfectly (described) the Pope, he said.

Pope John Paul also travelled more than any other pontiff in the church's
history and was not afraid to take on world leaders. Henry said the Pope was
committed to teaching, social justice and peace.

"When you met him, you had the sense that you were in the presence of a holy
man," said Henry, who met the Pope numerous times.

Henry felt he should have to take off his shoes in the Pope's presence.

Sarah Stamp, youth minister at Assumption and St. Patrick, wrote in an
e-mail to the Lethbridge Herald that Pope John Paul II is an amazing man who
continuously shows Christ's love.

She attended World Youth Day 2000 in Rome and World Youth Day 2002 in
Toronto, and said the Pope "took time to look at each one of us, to see into
our hearts.

"I remember when my eyes meet with his; an overwhelming sense of love came
over me, I felt like I was looking into the eyes of Jesus Christ. I watched
as my pilgrims, too, meet the Holy Father, and their eyes were filled with
tears of joy and love."

In Rome, he challenged the young people to be the saints of the new
millennium, to make a difference and to set the world a blaze, said Stamp.
In Toronto, the Pope challenged youth to answer God's call in their lives
and to live their lives in reflection of Jesus, she added.

Meeting the Pope in Rome was a life-changing experience for University of
Lethbridge graduate Austin Mardon. Mardon, now a writer in Edmonton,
graduated from U of L in 1985 with a degree in geography.

It was working in that field that brought Mardon in front of Pope John Paul.
Mardon aquired a yellow and white papal flag from St. Joseph's College in
Edmonton and took it along with a Canadian and Alberta flag when he was part
of an expedition to the Antarctic in 1986. It would take 10 long years and a
lot of monetary savings to get him to Rome to present the flag and an album
of photos to the pontiff at the papal audience hall, just off St. Peter's

"It was very profound," said Mardon. He says the Pope was very frail at the
time with the beginning of his Parkinson's disease showing but his strong
character and will were obvious.

He kissed the Pope's ring and was blessed by the pontiff. Mardon said Pope
John Paul's forgiving nature inspired him to be forgiving in his own life.

"I think that he (was) a very strong person who believed in the sanctity of
life. It's not always a pleasant experience but he (was) in it for the full

Category: News
Uniform subject(s): Religion, philosophy and ethics
Length: Medium, 580 words

Austin Mardon, CM
Telephone: 1-780-378-0063
Post Office Box 1223, Main Post Office,
Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA,
T5J 2M4
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