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Pope is a man of conviction, a man of compassion says Bishop Grosz

April 01, 2005

Glenn Gramigna
"A man of courage and faith, someone who accepts physical suffering yet does not allow medical challenges or physical discomfort to force him to back down from preaching the truth as God has revealed it to him. A man of strong convictions whom I believe will be remembered as one of the most influential popes in the history of the Church. A person who is giving us an example of courage and fierce unbending devotion to the doctrines of the Church that we can all learn from."
When Diocese of Buffalo Auxiliary Bishop Edward Grosz is asked to talk about the timeless legacy of Pope John Paul II, he uses words like those above to paint an illustrious picture of the pope. But, when Bishop Grosz is asked to speak personally about the pope, he recalls a day ten years ago when he found himself with the pontiff at the Vatican in Rome.
"You know bishops are asked to come to visit the pope every five years," Bishop Grosz said. "And, I remember when I was at the Vatican in 1993. There were about 14 bishops there. As we were leaving, John Paul was greeting each one personally and as it happened I was the very last one to leave. Suddenly I found myself completely alone with the pope. I bent down to kiss his ring and he gave me such a strong embrace I thought my ribs were going to break. I could feel the love he had for me and the people of the Buffalo Diocese."
"The amazing thing about talking to the pope is that when you are with him he totally focuses on you as if you are the only person in the world," Bishop Grosz adds. "There's a radiance about him. There is so much compassionate love in his eyes, it's incredible. The only other person from whom I've experienced the same kind of radiance is Mother Teresa. You can see that it's because of his closeness to God. Yes, he does have physical problems but his mind is as sharp as ever and his heart is still filled with love."
Other aspects of Pope John Paul's legacy for which Bishop Grosz feels he will be remembered include his special devotion to young people and the sick, and his constant willingness to reach out to the people of the world despite his physical infirmities.
"People can see that he has medical difficulties but he still makes the effort, sometimes a very difficult effort, to visit people just about everywhere in the world," Bishop Grosz notes. "Is there anyone else in the world whom you could think of who would be welcome everywhere? I can't think of anyone myself. I think the reason for the fact that Pope John Paul is accepted so widely is because the values he exemplifies, values of honesty and integrity and devotion to helping others and compassion are values that are needed in every country, in every society in the world. What future popes will do is hard to say but I know that this pope's legacy, his example, will live on in the hearts of people everywhere for a very long time to come."

Posted by Am-Pol Eagle at April 1, 2005 04:24 PM
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