05 April, 2005

Remembering pope John Paul II

I saw him for the first time in Calcutta in 1986. Then a high school student, I remember how we thronged the street outside our school and excitedly waved as pope John Paul II passed by in his 'popemobile'. For us, his glass-cased vehicle was no less an article of awe and discussion.

Then the years flew by and in 2003 I had the good fortune of seeing him again. Standing in St. Peter's square in the Vatican on that November morning, I listened to the pope giving his blessings from the window high above as all around me the faithful catholics craned to get a closer view of the spiritual leader. Though not a catholic, I remember feeling equally reverential in his presence.

I know how I am going to remember him. For me he will always be the person who gave Mother Teresa of Calcutta her rightful place with the saints.

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