Jul 062013
The Vatican’s decision to canonize the late Pope John Paul II may draw more young people to the Church, a Philippine Catholic bishop said Saturday.

Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon said John Paul II served as an inspiration to the youth and had been a role model to Church leaders and the world’s Catholics.

“He could draw thousands of young people and listen to him so I hope this time that he is becoming a saint, he could draw more young people closer to the Church,” Baylon said in an article posted Saturday on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines news site.

Baylon also noted John Paul II was instrumental in “awakening the spirit of generosity and enthusiasm among the young people to love the Church.”

Filipinos particularly have a special place in their hearts for John Paul II, who visited the Philippines twice – in 1981 and 1995.

In his 1995 visit, he interacted with young Filipinos and youths from all over the World during the World Youth Day celebration.

“That’s why it’s really a blessing for the youth that he will become (a) saint,” Baylon said.

The CBCP noted Pope Francis on Friday approved a miracle needed to canonize Pope John Paul II, and waived some Vatican rules to honor Pope John XXIII.

Both popes are closely identified with the historic Second Vatican Council meetings that brought the Church into modern times.

For his part, Lipa (Batangas) archbishop Ramon Arguelles said the canonization of the two popes “speaks well of the relevance of the Council albeit it’s being misinterpreted and misused by some sectors.”

“The Catholic Church more than ever is stronghold of the truth and world’s hope. They were trailblazers,” Arguelles added.

For his part, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco said many people “have good memories about these two popes and many will be happy.”

“God continues to be with His people. We glorify God in recognizing people,” Ongtioco added.

Isabela (Basilan) Bishop Martin Jumoad added both popes made the Church relevant to modern times and brought many people closer to God.

“John XXIII prepared the faithful for changes in the Church and John Paul II implemented many things to make the Church relevant to the present time,” said Jumoad. — LBG, GMA News

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