Pope John Paul II died today, Saturday April 2nd, the Vatican announced. The 84-year-old Pontiff, who had headed the Roman Catholic Church for 26 years, died at 9:37 p.m.
Prayers are being said in St Peter’s square, where many thousands of people are gathered to pay tribute.
He was a great man who worked for peace and justice. His pro-active style underlined the fact that a pope is not just a spiritual leader – he is also a player on the world’s diplomatic stage.
One theme of his papacy was his attempt to reach out to other faiths, in search of reconciliation after centuries of hostility and suspicion.
He travelled to Islamic countries and became the first pope to set foot in a mosque. As a symbol of religious tolerance, it took on new meaning after the events of 11 September 2001.
The world has lost a great man today.
May God bless his soul.