St John Paul II taught the world that truly great faith and holiness dwell in “the normality of a person who lives in profound communion with Christ”, Pope Francis said in a new book.
Precisely because he allowed people to see he was a human being – whether skiing or praying, hiking or suffering – “every gesture of his, every word, every choice he made always had a much deeper value and left a mark”, Pope Francis told Fr Luigi Maria Epicoco, author of the Italian book San Giovanni Paolo Magno (St John Paul the Great).
The book, published by Edizioni San Paolo and set for release later this month, was written to mark the 100th anniversary of St John Paul’s birth on 18th May 1920.
Much of the book is biographical information about the late pope, but each chapter includes Pope Francis’ response to questions from Fr Epicoco about his relationship with the late pope and observations about St John Paul’s spirituality, personality, events in his life and his teaching.
The priest said he spoke to Pope Francis about St John Paul several times between June 2019 and January 2020. A theologian and popular retreat leader, Fr Epicoco is president of the Fides et Ratio Institute for religious studies in Aquila, Italy.
Picture: Archive photo, dated 21st February 2001, shows Pope John Paul II embracing Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio – now Pope Francis – after presenting the new cardinal with a red beretta at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Reuters).