Many Paths to God…
Invitees to the visit of Pope Benedict XVI included leaders of the Jewish community throughout the United States and other religious leaders from Muslim sects, as well as various Christian groups.
Sandra and Carl Crabb are devoted supporters of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center and, as part of the original founding group, have seen the project through the last nine years. Its purposes are constantly enlarging and changing, as all faiths and cultures express interest in becoming members.
An international outreach to the youth of all faiths will begin soon and will be called “We Believe…,” as all exchange ideas while supporting their own cultures and faiths.
The Center was conceived to honor the 120 trips the Pope made across the world looking for its young people. On his deathbed, the Pope said to the world’s youth, “I went out looking for you and now, you have come to find me, and I thank you.”
A highly-respected theologian, a gentle heart and gentleman to the end, the Pope passed away with an Amen and a smiling face. The dedication he showed during his years in the Vatican always made people of every age and every culture his focus.
“Who wouldn’t love the Pope?” expressed Jackie Flowers. “He was universally respected and loved.”
The Polish community, recognizing the greatness of the man and pontiff, strove to make the building a living monument to his work.
At 11-years-old, the Pope, finding his best friend and captain of the Jewish soccer team standing outside his church waiting for him, John Paul asked, “Jersey? Why are you waiting outside?” Jersey answered, “That lady doesn’t seem to like it that I am here.” The Pope said, “Doesn’t she know there are many paths to God?”
Pope’s do not own worldly goods. Their wills are used to thank special people. His first thanks went to the Rabbi of Rome, who broke hundreds of years of tradition to invite the Roman Pontiff to enter the temple. That same Rabbi later arranged for the Pope to visit Israel. He thanked the Jewish people, left a prayer at the Wailing Wall and apologized to the Jewish people for the church having not done more to help them during the war. It was a powerful moment of reconciliation of the two faiths.
Known to stop whatever he was doing and pray for someone who asked for his blessing and prayers, his tenacious mind was capable of absorbing books, philosophies, difficult concepts and simplified them to an understandable level.
Our lives were enriched by his example, his dedication, his teachings and the humility and grace with which this active man bore during his illness in declining years.
He casts a light over the whole world and brought faith and hope to all who encountered him. He was recently declared venerable… the first step on the road to Sainthood.
They say there are two Pope’s in Rome, our new Pontiff becoming beloved in his own right and our good Shepherd, John Paul, still alive in the minds and hearts of those his goodness touched. He knew 33 languages, used television, the computer and the airplane in a constant outreach to all cultures. People naturally responded to his native goodness.
The new Pope shows signs he will leave his own special mark, and as the New Year begins, we have much to be thankful for.
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