by Shannen W. Coffin

I have struggled all day with what to say, whether to write a column or just remain silent. The words are all being spoken by others more eloquent than I. But for many, we have lost a spiritual father. In my case, three quarters of my life has been spent at the feet of John Paul II. I was a pre-teen when he was chosen to shepard the Church, and I remember little of his predecessors, just childhood snapshots. I had the good fortune of being in an audience with him at Xavier University in New Orleans in 1987, along with 500 or so others. Also in his earlier appearance at the Super Dome, which was rocking more than any Super Bowl ever played there. His commitment to faith was inspirational to billions of people. And his commitment to the protection of life was unparalled. I have little worries of what will happen next for him. But for me and for the Church, I pray that we have the wisdom to find a successor as marvelous as he. Rest in the peace of Christ, Karol Wojtyla.

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