September 12, 1984
On September 12, 1984, Pope John Paul II made a “pastoral visitation” to Newfoundland and Labrador, a milestone in the history of Catholicism in the province. The Pope came to help celebrate the 200th anniversary (1784-1984) of the establishment of the Catholic Church in Newfoundland.
While in the province he maintained a hectic schedule. His itinerary included: The Blessing of the Fishing Fleet at Flatrock; Meeting with the Handicapped at Memorial Stadium, St. John’s; Celebration of Mass at Pleasantville, near Quidi Vidi Lake; Meeting with Youth at Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Meeting with Catholic Educators at the Basilica Cathedral.
John Paul II died on April 2, 2005, at the age of 84, after leading the world’s 1 billion Catholics for 26 years.
He is remembered as a “champion of human freedom,” a “tireless advocate of peace” and a man with a “wonderful sense of humor” who was easy to talk to. (The latter can be attested by the young men who served the mass at Pleasantville – breaking with protocol – the Pope broke away from the formal procession to the altar to the chagrin of security to greet those who were serving the mass. (We chatted for a very short time!)
On May 1, 2011 Pope Benedict XVI beatified the late Pope John Paul II. Beatification means that a person’s life has displayed certain qualities that are worthy of imitation by other Christians. He was canonized a saint in the church on April 24, 2014. (I can now say that I spoke and shook hands with a saint!)
Recommended Archival Collection: To read the addresses and homilies given by the Pope go to: http://www.cccb.ca/site/Files/Pope_speeches_1984.html
Search the Rooms online database for descriptions of our archival records and to view thousands of digital photographs. Click the image to begin your search. https://www.therooms.ca/collections-research/our-collections
Recommended Publication: Upon this Rock the Story of the Roman Catholic Church in Newfoundland and Labrador, Paul O’Neill, Breakwater Books (1984)