An estimated ten thousand people braved pouring rain to cheer Pope John Paul the Second when he made a pilgrimage to Canale D'Agordo, the home village of his predecessor John Paul the First.
An estimated ten thousand people braved pouring rain to cheer Pope John Paul the Second when he made a pilgrimage to Canale D'Agordo, the home village of his predecessor John Paul the First. The Pope prayed at a church where John Paul the First was assistant priest after his ordination in 19335.
SYNOPSIS: The Pope used a helicopter a mode of papal transport which he now often uses and always has crowd appeal. The Pontiff's visit marked the first anniversary of the election of John Paul the First who died after a reign of only 33 days. Italy's new Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga was there to greet him.
The towns people were undeterred by the rain, and they turned out in their thousands exactly one year after the election as pope of their most famous son, Albino Luciani, whose death after a reign of just over a month caused the election of Pope John Paul the Second.
The Pope spoke to the crowd of the 'extraordinary phenomenon which was the election, the pontificate and the death of John paul the First, whose smile is well remembered, and who would probably have been smiling even in the rain'. The Pope said his predecessor's greatness was inversely proportional to the length of his service on the throne of Peter. The smiling Pope's short reign left such an impression that the town is now a focus for many tourists and pilgrims.
The rain grounded the helicopter so he drove to the base of Marmolada, the highest peak in the Dolomites, where another papal precedent was set. John Paul the Second is the first Pope to use a cable car, which he took to the summit.
The Pope was well wrapped in winter garments for the driving snow and fog on the summit. His purpose on the mountain was to recite the noon prayer and to bless a newly erected two metre (six foot) statue of the madonna.
With wind-driven snow swirling about him, John Paul blessed the statue which had been made by a local artist. He spoke partly in German, holding up as an example to other nations the integration of Italian and German speakers in the Dolomites which border Austria. He prayed that mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence between different ethnic groups and peoples will become ever deeper and firmer.