Excerpts from selected publications

John Paul: 1998's Top Religious News Maker

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, Saturday, Dec. 26, 1998—“John Paul was, not surprisingly, the religious figure of the year,” said a recent article in the New York Daily News. It noted that the Pope was voted as the most significant religious news maker by journalists.

“It was a hectic year for the Pope, who celebrated his 20th anniversary as leader of the Catholic world, named 22 new cardinals, issued a slew of letters and directives, visited four more countries, and in one homily, urged Catholics to rely more on God and less on horoscopes.”

A Detroit News article on the same subject referred to the Holy Father's affirmation of the Magisterium's role in defining doctrine. “Pope John Paul II told his bishops that the Catholic Church is not a society of free thinkers,” it said.

The Daily News noted that the Holy Father was also featured in the news when he canonized St. Edith Stein, a Jewish-born Carmelite nun who died at Auschwitz.

Furthermore, the Vatican “reported its first murders in centuries—of its Swiss Guard commander and his wife, and the apparent suicide of their assailant, another Swiss Guard,” said the paper.

Visit with Pope to Cap Teen's Spiritual Journey

KANSAS CITY STAR, Dec. 29—Sixteen year old Blair Friday is one of nine students selected to meet with Pope John Paul II during a youth rally on his trip to St. Louis, said a recent report in the Kansas City Star.

For her, the meeting “will be the high point of a cathartic journey that began with her grandfather's death, producing a spiritual awakening that has helped Blair define her place in the Catholic Church.”

The report noted that, when Friday's grandfather died in 1994, she “wrestled with the void left by the loss of a gentle friend and mentor…. her grades fell from A's to D's. And this once-polite preteen began to develop a reputation for talking back to most everyone.”

But then a fellow parishioner at St. Louis Catholic Church helped Blair deepen her faith—and improve her character—by introducing her to the Knights of Peter Claver.

Blair was elected at its last convention as a youth leader of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Knights group. Now, she speaks frequently to teens and reminds parents of the importance of faith to good character.

“It will be amazing to see how much of an effect [the Holy Father] has on everyone,” Blair told the paper. “I hope people [can] see me as a role model for other young people. I try to be there for other people, like he is.”

“Sometimes adults say, ‘Oh, they're just children.’ Just because we're children doesn't mean that we can't be nice young ladies and men,” Blair added.

“People should remember that we're the future of the Church.”