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Cardinal Sandri: 'John Paul II taught us what it means following God's will until the end'

Argentinian cardinal Leonardo Sandri was the first person to tell the world that John Paul II had passed away. CARD. LEONARDO SANDRI April 2, 2005 "May our silence and prayer guide the first moments of the encounter between the Holy Father John Paul II and Christ in Heaven.â? This same Cardinal was John Paul II's voice, so to speak, when the Polish Pope could no longer speak. The Pope had a tracheotomy, and though the operation was a success, John Paul II lost his voice.  CARD. LEONARDO SANDRI Prefect, Congregation for Eastern Churches "Reading his words aloud was a real honor, of course, but it was also very humbling.  I had to repeat the words of John Paul II and be, so to speak, his voice.â? Cardinal Sandri still remembers John Paul II's last pilgrimage to the Marian Sanctuary of Lourdes in France. It marked his last trip out of Italy. What struck people the most, is that he didn't hide his ailments.  CARD. LEONARDO SANDRI Prefect, Congregation for Eastern Churches "We could see this strong man jailed in the weakness of his body, trembling before Our Lady  and repeating to himself, a few months before his death, "Totus Tuum ego sum.â? Meaning,  I am yours; and through Our Lady, I also belong to Jesus till my death, till my last breath. This all happened in August 2004.â? In the last stages, Cardinal Sandri saw John Paul II struggle, but as the world looked on, even his pain, became a message. In John Paul II's sickness, he says, Christians can find an good example of holiness. CARD. LEONARDO SANDRI Prefect, Congregation for  Eastern Churches "For me, the most important lesson of John Paul II was that our entire life, no matter if it's the life of a layperson or a priest, a bishop or even cardinal, must follow the life of a saint: someone who follows the will of God without opposition, until the very end.â? Now, nine years after his death, the Argentinian Cardinal says it will be a privilege to see John Paul II declared saint. His life was his message and it's a message that still resonates around the world. AC/PM/KLH  MG FA -PR Up: PM