Since I’ve been “spending so much time with Blessed John Paul II” of late – writing my paper – I was very interested to read a story in a recent issue of Kairos from Melbourne.

It recalls the visit the Holy Father made to the parish of St Leo the Great, Altona North, during his 1986 visit to Australia.

Fr O’Rourke [who was parish priest at the time] said the visit had a unifying effect on St Leo the Great parish.

“It showed the people in the parish that they really had the same faith life that the Pope stood for and upheld and that the people in their ordinary living possess Christ in the same way.

“It was a typical Australian parish. We didn’t have a grand church; it was fairly simple, with a flat roof, a flat-sided church, quite small. But it was alive with people, love, and excitement because of the Pope.

“The Pope said that ‘we all need Christ’s look of love, every individual, every family, every parish, the whole world needs the love of Christ our redeemer and we receive this love through the Church. Christ communicates his love through the word of God and the sacraments which are offered to you each day in St Leo’s parish’,” Fr O’Rourke said.

“That was the explanation, I suppose, of what was being highlighted: that Christ was valuable to everybody regardless of what their status in life was and we were just lucky to be a parish that had that truth driven home to us in a spectacular kind of way. That Christ is with people all through our lives and through history – to me that was the gift that we received that day: to be affirmed about Christ in our lives.”

It’s a great article about a great pope!

Read it here: http://www.cam.org.au/catholic-heritage/postmarking-the-visit-of-blessed-john-paul-ii.html

I found the story here in Kairos, pp. 36-37.