JPII Foundation Audience with Pope Francis
Rome/Vatican, April 25-27 2015 – Chapters of John Paul II Foundation from around the world gathered in Rome for the 1st anniversary of St. John Paul II’s canonization. The Indonesian group was represented by 11 members, including Bishop Petrus Canisius Mandagi, MSC, one of the advisors, Lucia Liando as the president of the Indonesian chapter and Melisa Kristianto, as the leader for the youth section (JPII Youth).
The string of events include thanksgiving mass in St. John Paul II’s tomb inside St. Peter’s, meetings, unveiling of benefactors’ plaque and, the highlight, a private audience with Holy Father Pope Francis. The audience was held on the noon of Saturday, 25 of April in Clementine Room inside St. Peter’s Basilica. Out of the 120 attendees, some had the opportunity to shake hands and came into close interaction with the Pope; almost all of the Indonesian representatives had the opportunity to do so.
During this opportunity, Pope Francis emphasized that the canonization of St. John Paul II gave the foundation “a new impulse” and made it even “more universal.” He thanked the foundation for their educational and youth-centered initiatives, carrying forward one of St. John Paul II’s focuses, and for the foundation’s formation opportunities which help prepare priests and laity to accompany communities faced with cultural and pastoral challenges today. Pope Francis encouraged the foundation’s members to continue live out St. John Paul II’s solidarity doctrine and to “nurture it with Christian fellowship, animated continually by prayer and the obedience to the Word of God.”
Learn more about the foundation at: http://www.fjp2.com/
Melisa Kristianto, leader of JPII Youth in Indonesia, had the opportunity to meet with Pope Francis and took a selfie with him. Here is what she has to share about the special meeting:
Having blessed with the chance to meet face to face with Pope Francis, I wish to share what it means to me.
First of all, it is a very humbling experience; one that is overflowed with God’s grace, which only pushes me to do more for Him. Pope Francis is the leader of 1.1 billion Catholics, and this makes me question myself, who am I to receive this special opportunity? I have many shortcomings in being a Catholic and in my ministry. I can’t really answer that but I believe this is God’s giftand God’s plan for me. Meeting the Pope leaves me with feeling “with great gift comes great responsibility.” I feel immensely, tremendously blessed that it is impossible to keep His grace and blessingsall to myself. I believe one of the reasons I was given the opportunity is for me to pay it forward.To keep serving Him in my life and in my ministry, within the JPII Community He has put me in and within my every day walks of life.
Secondly, I learn that faith is a journey. Through JPII Foundation, I had the opportunities to meet with Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Although I appreciate those meetings greatly, this one leaves a deeper meaning for me. It is not because of the different Popes, but it is because I was a different person then and now. Back then when I was younger, religion was more like a routine for me. Over the years, without me realizing it, my faith grew little by little and it has been enabling me to appreciate and understand deeper God’s gifts, whether it besimple things in life or extraordinary ones. As I was reflecting upon this, I asked myself “What made my faith grew?” The answer to that is because: I DO something with it. I become more active, live out my faith and put them into action. God placed me in running a Catholic community with my friends, and by serving others through every chance we have, by listening to more sermons, by learning more about the Bible, by meeting and conversing with more people on the topics of faith, mysteries and life experiences, my faith grew. And it has been providing me with a deeper and more meaningful perspective to look at things in my life.
I believe I am here today by God’s plan and also touched by St. John Paul II – a leader of Catholic church for 30 years and 5 years after his passing, was canonized as Saint. During his time as Pope, he promotes love and peace and has left an inspiring legacy to Catholics around the world: to do good for others and to serve God.
A community provides vital support for growth and allows one to achieve what he/she cannot do alone. I am very grateful to God for placing me in this community, surrounded by supportive and dynamic friends. I pray that all of us can continue to grow in faith and in ministry together.
Written by: Melisa Kristianto