A Papal Geography Lesson: Houston Cardinal Comments on Personal Meetings with Pope John Paul II

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Houston's Cardinal Daniel DiNardo relates his private experiences with Pope John Paul II in the newly released book, Living Miracles: The Spiritual Sons of John Paul the Great. The book anticipates John Paul II's upcoming beatification on May 1 and is based on dozens of interviews--including an exclusive interview with Madrid native Carlos Vasquez who attributes his miraculous recovery from Crohn's disease to the deceased pope's intervention.

It was the young people responding, sometimes to World Youth Days, sometimes to other things the pope had done.

Houston's Cardinal Daniel DiNardo muses on his personal encounters with John Paul II in a newly released book, Living Miracles: The Spiritual Sons of John Paul the Great. (Mission Network: 2011, ISBN 9781933271279)

In one recollection, DiNardo mentions an incident that took place during a dinner in the late 90's with a handful of bishops in the papal palace. A prominent archbishop was chiding the pope to stop overworking and to take better care of his health. An ever feisty John Paul retorted, "Ahh, if I drop, I drop!"

Elsewhere, DiNardo lightheartedly describes giving the pope a geography lesson during a meeting in 1998. The two were hunched over a large map in the pope's private study, and John Paul was trying to find Sioux City, Iowa. He had located nearby Des Moines, where the papal helicopter had touched down in a big cornfield during his first trip to the U.S., but ultimately DiNardo intervened to direct the pope's finger slightly more to the northwest.

Living Miracles, a book based on dozens of interviews with bishops, priests, and seminarians, gauges the ongoing influence John Paul's legacy on church culture. Its publication follows in the wake of the Vatican's announcement of John Paul II's beatification, scheduled for May 1--an announcement which opens the door to official sainthood for the popular pontiff.

DiNardo says he started to see a major change the culture of the seminary where he had studied theology (the North American College in Rome), starting in the late 80's, "but really full-blown by the 1990s. I believe that it was a number of things," says the Cardinal, "It was the young people responding, sometimes to World Youth Days, sometimes to other things the pope had done."

Also released in this book are previously unpublished details regarding one of the alleged miracles credited to the deceased pope. This instance concerns the stunning recovery of Carlos Vasquez of Madrid, Spain, from Crohn's disease following prayers to John Paul II. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, Crohn's disease has no cure (see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001295).

Living Miracles: The Spiritual Sons of John Paul the Great by Randall J. Meissen ($14.95 soft cover) can be found at http://www.amazon.com/Living-Miracles-Spiritual-Sons-Great/dp/1933271272/ and https://www.createspace.com/3551302.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo shepherds the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, ministering to the more than 1.3 million Catholics in the area.

Mission Network is an international Catholic organization that exists to serve bishops, pastors and families by developing and offering effective programs and resources that are based on Gospel values, http://www.missionnetwork.com.

About the Author: Randall J. Meissen, LC, author of Living Miracles: The Spiritual Sons of John Paul the Great, has served as a professor at Legion of Christ College of Humanities in Cheshire, Connecticut, and as a research assistant at the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person in New York. He currently works in youth ministry for the Cumbres School in Valencia, Spain.

To request a review copy, contact the author.
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