Saturday, April 30, 2011

John Paul II Electrified Youth in Detroit Visit in 1987

Pope John Paul II was beatified May 1, 2011 in Rome - a step closer to canonization as an official saint of the Catholic Church.

His visit to Detroit in September of 1987 did make a significant diffeence in the lives of many Catholic young people.

I know.

Students were surveyed at four Catholic schools two weeks after the pope's visit, then, I studied the results in a doctoral program and project that I completed the following year.

Forty-five percent of the students surveyed at Brother Rice and Marian high schools in Birmingham, Pontiac Catholic High School and St. Joseph Elementary School in Lake Orion, Michigan, said they felt closer to the pope after the visit. Many students said they planned to put more effort into prayer (51 percent) and helping the poor (44 percent) because of the pope.

Tirty-two percent said they felt closer to the oppressed and 47 percent said they planned to be more sensitive to other races. The margin of error in my study was plus or minus five percentage points.

John Paul's visit affected people's lives, and, results proved that.

Jubilation will mark the majesty and Mass May 1st prclaiming the pontiff blessed. Amid, that
however, there are detractors who make a point. The unhealed wound of the Church's sexual abuse crisis exploded on John Paul's watch. And, even though he was apparently unaware of
information about this horror, it signals a flaw in the system, and, how communication is flawed in the Church.

Blame this on local bishops, but admission has to be owned, that they failed to inform the pope about this problem they were clearly aware of, but, perhaps in denial as they tried to push it
under cover.

John Paul II flew into Detroit on September 18, and, he spoke at Hart Plaza downtown about social justice, the Solidarity union movement in Poland that challenged Communism, and, against racism and abortion, while he praised the dignity of human labor.

Far fewer than expected packed Hart Plaza, and, Hamtamck.

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