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19 July 1983
Fr. Fio Mascarenhas, S.J. and Fr. Tom Forrest C.Ss.R. of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Office were privileged to meet with Pope John Paul II at Castel Gandolfo on July 19th, 1983. They were invited to concelebrated the Holy Father’s private morning Mass, which proved again to be a most inspiring experience for the two priests. At the Liturgy of the Word, the Pope’s face expressed a special intensity of prayer as he joined in the Responsorial Psalm, “Lord, it is you who set your people free!”It was easy to guess that the Holy Father’s thoughts at that moment were of the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican employee kidnapped in Rome and still untraced after a whole month, and of Poland, El Salvador, Lebanon and a host of other troubled places in the world.
After Mass, the Holy Father chatted for several minutes with the two priests, holding their hands warmly all the while. His first words were, “Thank you for coming”. I am very pleased to see you!” They then told the Holy Father about plans for the Worldwide Priests’ Retreat, and about their recent travels to so many countries of the world where they had seen “many doors being opened to the Redeemer”. The Pope replied gently, “Yes, we must keep working at this”. Then he said aloud happily to the others present, “The Charismatic Movement! The Charismatic Movement!” as though letting them know who the two priests were with whom he had been speaking. At the end he asked for more prayers for himself, and left smiling at a humorous comment one of the priests made about his having to pose for so many photos.
Prayer groups around the world are asked to redouble their prayers for the Holy Father. He is in good health, but extremely burdened by the very long hours of work he imposes on himself, and the constant problems he has to deal with. May the Lord continue to bless him and use him powerfully in leading the Church.
Taken from the ICCRS Newsletter, July-August 1983