This was written by Sr. Elena Rastello on May 1, 2005, after the death of Pope John Paul II, for her students at Tangaza College to help them know Pope John Paul II better, from the point of view of somebody deeply “marked” in her life by his pontificate.
I shall not call you John Paul II, because Don Bosco taught me to say “Long live the Pope”, no matter what his name may be, long live the one who received the mandate from the Holy Spirit who is God. I could certainly say ‘dear dad or dear father’ because you have been father, in the almost total absence of fatherly figures which characterises our time, you have been a father because the young people need it, you are father, today and always, today more than ever.
I could say “Dear Karol”, because you have been the friend and the teacher, you have been close and not distant, you have been present and not absent, you have been Polish and Italian, European and citizen of the world.
Dear, dear Pope, you have been able to be so close to our hearts, so close to the heart of the world, that we will never forget you, we are already calling you a saint.
Now, the Spirit of God speaks, expresses himself, and manifests himself through his people. As has already happened for your sweet friend Teresa, for you too, if the people with loud voice proclaim you holy, then you are holy by the very voice of God, at whose image and likeness we are created.
It never happened in the history of the Church for the pastors not to accept the voice of the Spirit who speaks through his people.
You arrived at the threshold of Rome when I was only 19 years old. The young people of my generation and of the following ones have received from God, in you, the gift of a sure, firm guide, a guide who loved us and who made us understand that we were loved…
To read the whole letter: Dear Pope