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WHAT POPE JOHN PAUL II MEANT TO ME

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Photo courtesy of Father Joe Father Joseph Rulli, St. Therese Catholic Church meets Pope John Paul II in Rome."The pope really energized me as a priest," explains Father Joe Rulli, pastor, St. Therese Parish, Waynedale. "The confidence with which he has preached is infectious. Many of us priests greatly admire his outreach to people. Catholic and non-Catholic, Christian and non-Christian, and especially the young. His writings and sermons will far outlive him and influence the church well into the future. I think we are only now beginning to digest the moral weight of his works and reflections."

Father Rulli has seen Pope John Paul II four times in Rome and once in Denver and "I was at Mass with him in his chapel in November 1998. At that time he was already visibly weakening ... but he went from Latin to English to Latin, without looking at a book very carefully. His mind was probably the quickest in the room at that hour."

Father Joe believes that "his greatest act will have been the witness he has given us in his final days. With great faith and hope he approached the Gates of Life."

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