I first met Pope John Paul II when I was in 4th grade. I was new to practicing my Catholic faith and going to a Catholic School. I must admit that the definition of my meeting him is very loose here! I was at the Eucharistic celebration he had at the National Mall in DC. We all wore yellow shirts that said "Welcome" in English and Polish. I was far away at the Mass, but he drove by later on the street standing up through the roof of the limo--yes it was before the days of the popemobile. He spoke to me (and a mass of humanity) at World Youth Day in Toronto. As we sat on the airfield that day and JP II refered to his being an old man now, one of the youth yelled out that he wasn't old. JP II responded to him saying yes he is old but that he loves the young. That is so true! He had a ways of reaching out--as the photo above shows. He was a man of great principle and love. He stood firmly in the teaching of the Church with his arms open wide.
I was in Rome in 2004 for the beatification of Sister Rosalie Rendu (a Daughter of Charity following the French Revolution). By that time Pope John Paul II was very frail and it took great effort for him to have the Mass. He came nearby in the popemobile. He had to cancel his audience with us since he wasn't up to it. In this age of spending all kinds of money to remain young or at least young looking, John Paul the Great taught us how to age with dignity, how to be light for others despite disease and diminishment.
Ah, yes, the photo at the top is fun, but this one is holinesss in action! May we each age and endure our infirmities as gracefully as he did! Here is a link to Pope Bendedict XVI's homily for the beatification: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/homilies/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20110501_beatificazione-gpii_en.html
What were writings, quotes or experiences of John Paul the Great that touched you?