Univ. grieves for pope’s death

Melissa Weigel

On April 2 at 9:37 p.m., Pope John Paul II died at the age of 84 in his apartment above St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. A urinary tract infection that caused a high fever and unstable blood pressure eventually led to the failure of his kidneys and cardio-respiratory system that caused his death. After suffering for more than a decade from Parkinson’s disease, he had been hospitalized twice since the beginning of February.

At 8 p.m. on Saturday night, Mass was said in his room, and he received the last rites for the sick and dying for the second time, having already received them on Thursday.

Rev. Edmund Dobbin, O.S.A., president of the University, sent an e-mail to students and faculty on Sunday, April 3 in remembrance of the pope. He also led a Mass dedicated to him on Wednesday, April 6.

“What I would like to do…is reflect upon what enabled John Paul to touch so many parts of so many people,” Dobbin said in his homily. These traits included John Paul’s brilliance, charisma and ability to respond to an audience, according to Dobbin.

He said, “The thing that most allowed him to touch so many was his dynamic and profound spirituality grounded in God’s presence in him and his presence in God.”

The University also hosted a symposium in honor of the pope on Thursday in which professors offered their reflections on his life.

The pope’s funeral is scheduled for Friday and is projected to be the largest funeral in history.

“The world has lost a champion of human freedom, and a good and faithful servant of God has been called home,” President Bush said at the White House. “Pope John Paul II was himself an inspiration to millions of Americans and to so many more throughout the world.”

The Bushes, along with many world leaders, will attend his funeral on Friday, April 8.

Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, despite not being invited to join the presidential delegation and despite the Vatican not issuing an invitation to a Congressional delegation, also planned on attending.

He faces re-election next year in the heavily Catholic Pennsylvania against Catholic Democrat Robert P. Casey, Jr.

Pope John Paul II was born Karol Wojtyla on May 18, 1920 in Wadowice, Poland. He was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years and served since 1978.

His papacy was either the second or third longest in the 2,000 year history of the papacy, according to conflicting records.