Pope Francis commemorates John Paul II

Pope Francis on Monday commemorated the late Polish-born Pope John Paul II, whose 100th birth anniversary falls on May 18, 2020.

Pope Francis called John Paul II "God's extraordinary gift for the Church and Poland," and said his path was filled with "delight with life, the Divine mystery, the world and man."

He also spoke about John Paul II's faith in God, which allowed him to "reveal the uniqueness and beauty" of priesthood.

Turning to John Paul II's teachings, he said they were open to all today, and also valuable to the young, to whom they showed sure paths to resolve the various difficulties and obstacles they may encounter in their lives.

Pope Francis observed that difficulties were "a test of maturity and faith," and that passing such tests required "drawing upon the power of Christ. In this context, he reminded that John Paul II addressed this in his "Redemptor hominis" encyclical, in which he wrote that, "He who wishes to understand himself fully, must draw close to Christ with his anxiety, insecurity, and also his weakness and sinfulness, his life and his death."

At the close of his address, Pope Francis expressed hope that John Paul II's centenary will inspire young people to a "courageous pursuit of Christ" as Christ was "the Lord of risk" and of "always striving towards the beyond."