Cover image for John Paul II : a light for the world : essays and reflections on the papacy of John Paul II
John Paul II : a light for the world : essays and reflections on the papacy of John Paul II
Walsh, Mary Ann, Sister, RSM.
Publication Information:
Landham, MD : Sheed & Ward, 2003.
Physical Description:
255 pages : color illustrations ; 27 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:
Format :


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BX1378.5 .J64 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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When Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope on October 16, 1978, he became the first Slavic Pope in history and the first non-Italian in 455 years. Taking the name John Paul II, the new Pope delivered a message in his first homily in St. Peter's Square that has resounded throughout his entire papacy: "Be not afraid " Created for the occasion of his twenty-fifth anniversary as Pope, John Paul II: A Light for the World provides a celebration in photographs and words of the courageous pastor who guides more than one billion Catholics and has made his mark on history the world over. Elegantly designed and produced, John Paul II: A Light for the World features over 140 photographs--many of which seldom have been seen outside the Vatican--by official Vatican photographers who have captured the Pope's remarkable life and ministry for two and a half decades. These beautiful photographs are accompanied by selections from the Pope's own speeches and writings as well as essays and personal reflections by scholars and friends that provide insight into the public and private person of Pope John Paul II. Organized into three sections--Pastor, Pilgrim, Prophet--more than forty essays by staff of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops explore the depth and breadth of the themes central to John Paul's papacy, while nearly thirty personal reflections by cardinals, bishops, and others who have had personal encounters with the Pope reveal his profoundly human, and often humorous, side. A joint effort between the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Communications Campaign and Sheed & Ward, John Paul II: A Light for the World is the definitive commemoration of John Paul II's twenty-fifth anniversary as Pope. The book opens with a personal greeting from Angelo Cardinal Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State; a foreword by Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations; an introduction by Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, president of the USCCB; and a historical sketch by John Thavis, Rom

Author Notes

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, RSM, was a Sister of Mercy and editor of two books, including Benedict XVI: Essays and Reflections on His Papacy. A frequent commentator on church affairs, she was director of media relations at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. She died in 2015.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Issued by the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the current pontificate, this commemorative collection of essays, brief reflections, and photographs is a loving tribute to Pope John Paul II. Since all the photos have been gathered from the archives of the official Vatican photographers and most of the essays have been penned by members of the clergy or employees of the church, there is nothing new or divisive to be found here. As a pastor, John Paul is portrayed reaching out to the masses; as a pilgrim, he has traveled the globe; and as a prophet, he is lauded for refining the meaning and the message of Roman Catholicism. Readers seeking a balanced analysis of an often controversial papacy should look elsewhere; those interested in an illustrated love letter to an elderly pontiff will be well pleased. --Margaret Flanagan Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

As the pope's silver jubilee approaches, publishers are gearing up with all manner of tributes to the beloved pontiff. This coffee-table book, with memorable full-color images by official Vatican photographers and reflections by many people who have had personal encounters with John Paul II, may be the pick of the crop. As imprimaturs go, it has an impeccable pedigree: it is an official commemorative book commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Also, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan weighs in with a foreword highlighting the pope's commitment to international human rights. The book is divided into three sections, exploring the pope's roles as pastor (including his leadership in family life issues and his stand against sexual abuse in the priesthood); a pilgrim (highlighting the more than 700,000 miles the pope has traveled in his tenure); and prophet (discussing his ethical stance on issues such as human rights, racism, labor and the death penalty). Throughout, various cardinals, monsignori and archbishops share brief anecdotes about their personal encounters with the man who was born Karol Wojtyla. While some of these are so fawning as to remove any trace of humanity from the man, other remembrances are candid and humorous. The book's photographs, which span the course of his 25-year papacy, show him interacting with people all over the world, and also depict some private moments. The book closes with a brief chronology of John Paul II's life, as well as synopses of his encyclicals and other key writings. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Commemorating the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's pontificate, this official festschrift was compiled by Walsh (RSM), along with 30 other directors, deputies, advisers, and coordinators at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC. These admiring contributors have written a series of short, respectful essays extolling the pastoral, missionary, and prophetic aspects of his ministry, accompanied by exclusive photographs from Auturo Mari, the papal photographer. Interspersed throughout this lavish work are brief descriptions by leading U.S. church figures of their most intimate encounters with the Holy Father. The book also includes a brief biography of Karol Wojtyla, an outline of significant events, lists of those canonized and beatified, the pope's itineraries around the world, and descriptions of all encyclicals and other key letters authored by the pope. A helpful glossary and index complete this attractive work. Libraries may consider this title over Pope John Paul II: Reaching Out Across Borders from Reuters because of the greater amount of biographical, factual, and textual material; however, this is a gift book. Those interested in a more standard biography may still want to consider George Weigel's Witness to Hope. Recommended for select libraries.-John-Leonard Berg, Univ. of Wisconsin Lib., Platteville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.