The Catholic Church marks its commemoration of the Blessed John Paul II, by placing a webcam on the Polish priest’s grave
A “web-exposition” of John Paul II. On the day of the Church’s commemoration of the life of the Blessed Karol Wojtyla, the Vatican decided to place a webcam on the Polish Pope’s tomb, to mark the occasion. There were hundreds of thousands of virtual pilgrims from all over world “present” at the altar in St. Peter’s Basilica, where John Paul II rests. The webcam transported Catholic faithful to the global gathering place for devotion towards Karol Wojtyla, via the Vatican City State’s website (http://www.vaticanstate.va/EN/homepage.htm).www.vaticanstate.va).
“This is an idea John Paul II would have liked very much, given that he was the first to open the universal Church up to the modern world of social communication and hi-tech virtuality,” Bishop Domenico Mogaverocommented as he and his Diocese of Mazara del Vallo prepare to inaugurate the first edition of “G.P. Day” dedicated to John Paul II and organised by the Sicilian pastoral group for youngsters, 18 years on from the Pope’s last visit. “John Paul II visited Mazara del Vallo on 8 May 1993, Msgr. Mogavero recounted. After landing by helicopter in Giovan Battista square, he was welcomed by Cardinals Salvatore Pappalardo and Camillo Ruini.”
The Pope stopped off in the Piazza della Repubblica square and then along the San Vito seafront (right by the church dedicated to the Saint) where the Eucharist was held. “John Paul II was the first Pope to connect to the internet,” the prelate said. His papacy began in 1978 and it was in those years that the U.S. Department of Defence was starting an experimental interconnection initiative, linking together a number of computers across different parts of the country. Mogavero pointed out how “many can still remember the moment when the elderly Karol Wojtyla clicked on the Internet explorer browser of a PC, in the Paul VI Hall.” It is said that having grasped the Internet’s potential, John Paul II asked: “Why isn’t the Holy See there yet? Whose decision was needed for this?” It was up to him, he was told. “Then let’s do it!” he said. And so, on 24 March 1997, the Holy See officially went online with its website www.vaticanstate.va.”
Meanwhile, celebrations for John Paul II are being held across five continents, with hundreds of initiatives and actions.From the Holy Land to almost all Italian dioceses. A mass in memory and in the name of John Paul II was held on the anniversary of the beginning of his Pontificate in 1978; Mass was also held on the shore of Lake Tiberias, where the former Pope had celebrated a huge Eucharistic event for youngsters on 24 March 2000: this liturgical commemoration was an ideal opening ceremony for the eighth edition of the “JPII Games, pilgrims of peace”. This initiative was organised by the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi (ORP), the Vatican’s organisation for the promotion of pilgrimages and the no-profit Italian sports association Centro Sportivo Italiano, which has brought pilgrims and sports men and women to Terrasanta to spread the principles of peace among the people inspired by the figure of Pope Wojtyla.
The first mass to be celebrated in his name, in the places visited by the Polish Pope after his beatification, was held in a natural terrace facing the lake that was the stage for so many episodes of Jesus’s life and in close proximity to the Mount of Beatitudes , where the “Domus Galilaeae International Center” is located. The eighth edition of the JPII Games has also been marked by a record number of participants, approximately 300 in total. All of them will transform into “runners” this coming Monday, to take part in the Bethlehem-Jerusalem Peace Marathon. Among them will be many Palestinians as well as Israelis, who, together, will cross the check-point, along the 12 km long route, which marks the division between the two states.
Numerous personalities from the world of sports and not only, will be taking part in the project as witnesses and ambassadors. Some of the figures which stand out the most are: the Paralympic champion Giusy Versace and a group of former Italian football players, including Damiano Tommasi, Gigi Di Biagio and Angelo Peruzzi; These players will also be starring in a football tournament which will take place on the flat ground around the check-point. They will play against a team of young football players, put together by football championship organiser, Lega Pro, and two other Israeli and Palestinian teams.
There is also a delegation from Haiti in the Holy Land, alongside the Italian one. A hundred people from Onlus NPH (the Our Little Brothers foundation) will be running in the name of peace and to make their voices and their appeal for solidarity for Jerusalem heard. Fr. Cesare Atuire, CEO of Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, said that “with this initiative, each one of us is contributing to bulding bridges of peace between peoples. As the Blessed John Paul II, after whom the Bethlehem-Jerusalem run was named, used to say, “From a new heart, peace really is born.”