At this time when Pope John Paul II is so ill and so consumed with the carrying of his cross in unity with Christ, we in the Notre Dame family readily join in prayer with our Catholic brothers and sisters around the world so as tobe therewith our Holy Father, not always knowing what to say, but knowing with special intensity the importance of family, of kinship with Jesus, of a persons life, and of the always-present challenge of mortality.
Eternal Father in heaven, you know that many things go through the minds and hearts of a family when a beloved earthly father is facing such illness and pain. At this time, we at Notre Dame place all our emotions, expectations, uncertainties, hopes and fears on the altar, and we offer them up to you with the simple summation prayer, Thy will be done.
Amid the uncertainty, these things we know: You are a supremely good and gracious God who is not abandoning your remarkable servant, John Paul, nor are you abandoning the Church. As Our Lady was there alongside Jesus in His suffering, help us to draw compassion and wisdom as we walk with our Pope along his via dolorosa. Dear Mary, our patroness, help us to recognize and receive the redemptive power of such suffering, in the form of greater unity among all Catholics, all Christians, all people of the earth, bearing fruits of greater faith, hope, and love. Let these be the gifts that we give to John Paul and to the Lord by offering them to one another with renewed fervor. Amen.