In our thirty-two years of publication, there have been only a few times that we have put aside our plans and produced a special edition of our magazine. Two examples that stand out for me are the edition we wrote to mark the passing of Pope John Paul II in 2005 and our recent edition marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.
When Pope Francis announced the canonization of not one but two of his predecessors—Blessed Pope John XXIII and Blessed Pope John Paul II—we knew we had to act. We decided once more to put aside our regular slate of articles so that we could devote an entire issue to these two new saints.
Pope John Paul II was a tireless evangelist who traveled the world proclaiming the gospel. He was also a prolific writer and wise statesman who urged us to love Jesus, to love one another, and to “be not afraid.”
Pope John XXIII was not just a roly-poly old man with a big nose, as he often referred to himself. He was a Church historian and a seasoned diplomat. He was supposed to be a caretaker pope, but he surprised everyone when he announced the Second Vatican Council. Together, these two men shaped the Church—and maybe even the world—more than anyone else in the past half century.
I have spent a good portion of my adult life following Pope John Paul II. I watched television broadcasts of his travels. I had the privilege of attending several Masses he celebrated in Rome. I have always admired his courage and dedication.
I am too young to know Pope John XXIII, but from all I have read and from the stories I have heard, I have come to admire his pastoral sensitivity and his concerns for the rights of workers, the poor, and everyday believers. The canonization of these two men is a great blessing for the Church and a wonderful invitation to celebrate God’s work in our midst.
Can You Help? For more than ten years now, I have been visiting nearby prisons. Usually, I attend Mass with the inmates and then meet with them to talk about the Lord. Sometimes, we read the meditations from The Word Among Us together. I always enjoy hearing what these inmates have to say because their insights are often more exciting than my own!
These men receive The Word Among Us because of generous donations to our Partners ministry from readers like you, and it is making a difference for them. So I want to thank all of you who have donated to Partners. You are changing lives.
In addition to making our magazine available to prison inmates, Partners also provides copies to those serving in the military and to women in crisis-pregnancy centers. In the center of this magazine, you’ll find an insert that tells some of their stories. Please consider helping us bring God’s love to the many others who are asking for our help. Thank you, and may God bless you all.
Joe Difato, Publisher | Email the Publisher at [email protected]