Stanislaw Grygiel was a long time friend and collaborator of John Paul II. From the many opportunities they had to talk, one conversation in particular stands out. He said that when his illness started to affect him, John Paul II considered resigning.
Friend and collaborator of John Paul II
"Yes, he thought about it. One time my whole family went to have dinner with him, he was 75 years old at the time, he told me: ‘Yes, I see that my pontificate, in terms of my physical strength, has been a bit down’. I basically told him ‘No Father, maybe now your teachings will have a richer, more profound, stronger effect.’ And he told me ‘No, you know what I mean.’ And so it was.”
Grygiel’s daughter wrote a touching letter to Pope John Paul II asking him not to resign, and this served as a great source of strength for the Pope to continue leading the Church.
The other great protagonist of the canonization is John XXIII. His great nephew, Marco Roncalli, recounts how his uncle prepared to convene the Second Vatican Council.
Great nephew of John XXIII
"He did a very important thing, he called all of the bishops from around the world together. He empowered them.” FLASH "He made a point to have them get to know each other, to look each other in their eyes, to know the stories of those who had come from far away. He asked them to be true protagonists.”
The personal testimonies shared by the friends and family of the two former popes illustrate the great character of John XXIII and John Paul II that many people have come to know and love.