June 7, 2012. (Romereports.com) John Paul II traveled to Colombia in 1986. Over the course of seven days he visited 11 cities. It's been 26 years since then, but those who were present for that trip still remember it as if it were yesterday.
César Mauricio Velásquez, Colombia's ambassador to the Vatican has compiled some of the memories of that trip in his book “John Paul II, in the heart of Colombia”.
CÉSAR MAURICIO VELÁSQUEZ Ambassador of Colombia to the Vatican “He met with children, young people, indigenous, businessmen, intellectuals, people from all walks of life in Colombia. John Paul II left a deep mark on our country because he respected freedom of expression. Because he respected the dignity of all people and because he defended the same values.”
CARD. DARÍO CASTRILLÓN HOYOS “It's a very simple book, very easy to read and to remember the main points of the Pope's presence during those seven days when there was a ceasefire of violence in Colombia, it was unforgettable for the collective memory of the Colombian people.”
The book highlights the contribution that John Paul II made toward peace in Colombia when rebel groups agreed to a truce during his visit. The book also has a few surprises.
CÉSAR MAURICIO VELÁSQUEZ Ambassador of Colombia to the Vatican "Look at the pictures in detail because the vast majority of the photos are previously unpublished from the archives of the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano. Most of the photographs have never been published before. They are from the pilgrimage of John Paul II to our eleven different cities."
It's a journey that Ambassador Velásquez wants to keep alive in the memory of all Colombians. He also plans to invite Benedict XVI to visit his country during his trip to Brazil in July of 2013 for World Youth Day.