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Rome Reports

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The best picture of John Paul II according to personal photographer

Arturo MariPersonal photographer of John Paul II"He would arrive every morning at 6.20 am at his apartment and would work all day, until 8, 9, 10 or 11 at night." Such was the energy of the pope and his closest associates. They had an enthusiasm that was maintained until the last minute.Arturo Mari could see first hand how John Paul II changed the world, as he accompanied him on all the meetings, hearings and trips he made in his 26 year pontificate. Arturo MariPersonal photographer of John Paul II"We will remember John Paul II as the man who changed the world. It?s something you can see from the first trip to the last. Everyone who heard him witnessed his teaching and his message being carried off all to the countries of the world, from North to South, East and West." Arturo Mari has worked more than 53 years as a papal photographer. He has produced millions of photographs of Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and now Benedict XVI. But Arturo Mari, the photographer of the popes, has no doubt about which of his photographs is his favorite.It was taken at the time of the last Holy Week of John Paul II?s reign, during the Stations of the Cross. The pope, for health reasons, could not be present at the Colosseum, but followed the ceremony from his private chapel.Arturo Mari was able to photograph a historic moment at the fourteenth station, which recalls the burial of Jesus. Arturo MariPersonal photographer of John Paul II"The Holy Father asked Father Stanislao Dziwisz to give him the cross. For a split second, the pope took the crucifix, gave it a kiss, and embraced it. He put it close to his heart. Nobody else saw this, because it was for just a second. " It is a photo that has been seen around the world and that shows graphically how the John Paul II experienced pain in his final years. It is an image that captures the personality of the pope, as seen by one of the people who knew him best. BR/RDFFHC PN