Southwest Georgia looks back at the legacy of Pope John Paul, II - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Southwest Georgia looks back at the legacy of Pope John Paul, II

Albany- It's a silent reminder of their Pontiff. A tribute is set up in the gathering area of St. Teresa Catholic Church. Father Finbarr Stanton reflects on the life of Pope John Paul, the second.

"He has been just a significant figure in the last 25 to 30 years. He has just been a huge person on the world stage and a spokesperson for the poor and for the vulnerable," said Stanton.

Father Stanton was once one of thousands who saw the Pope in a stadium in South Carolina.

"Well, he attracted many thousands of people and they all seemed very excited when he came in. He did seem to have that charismatic presence, that some people have, to attract attention from lots of people and to energize them and send them away feeling better about themselves," said Stanton.

He says for many young Catholics this is a confusing time.

"For young people this is the only one that they've known and he's been able to use his position, and use it in a kind of good way that would attract young people. He was good at theater, public theater and he was good at public speaking," said Stanton.

Students at St. Teresa are on break this week, but when they return, he plans to talk with them.

"We will talk about him and celebrate his going to the new life, as we believe after death, to join the blessed in heaven. So, we will talk about it, that's one way we'll do it, and we have other ways, in the classrooms, the teachers will talk with the students," said Stanton.

Father Stanton says, this marks a defining point in history for the Catholic faith.

"It will be a defining moment for this generation, because this Pope, Pope John Paul, had a certain understanding of the church, based strongly of course in the Catholic Tradition. He was very, very outspoken on certain matters, social matters especially," said Stanton.

He says it's not just Catholics who are affected but many others as well.

"He was a world figure, he wasn't just a Catholic Priest, he was a powerful voice on the world stage. He's seen many kings and queens come and go, presidents come and go, dictators come and go, all kinds of leaders come and go and he has maintained consistently that strong voice for peace, justice in the world," said Stanton.

In the gathering area of the church, they have set up a remembrance book that anyone can stop by and sign or write a message. That book will then be sent to the local Bishop.

posted by jennifer.emert@walb.com

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