📷 Arturo Mari

Confessions of the Papal photographer Arturo Mari

Papal photographer Arturo Mari confessed that at the side of John Paul II he experienced many wonderful, but also difficult moments of his life.  These include the time of the Pope’s departure to the House of the Father.  “It was the most beautiful moment, but also the hardest.  Eight hours before his death, the Pope asked to find me. Father Stanisław Dziwisz invited me to the Holy Father’s apartment.  It was a special invitation as the entire time was very special.  I did not expect that.  Father Stanisław took my hand and led me to the Holy Father.  I entered the Pope’s bedroom.  I was standing at the left side of his bed.  Father Stanisław said” “Holy Father, Mr. Arturo is here”

The Pope was lying in a very modest, narrow bed.  Next to it was a kneeler, a table with a cross on it.  That’s all what was in the Holy Father’s bedroom.  I am talking about it, as many people talk about the luxuries in which the Pope lives.   That was the luxury of John Paul II.  The Pope was not connected to any devices.  On the pillow, beside him, there was only an oxygen mask.  When, Father Stanisław Dziwisz said that I had come, the Holy Father turned and I saw a beautiful smile, eyes open, big – for months we have not seen so beautiful face of the Holy Father.  Immediately, I felt on my knees.   The Pope extended his hand and touched my face, temples, hand.  It was such a fatherly care.  What I have in my memory is his touch and eyes of the Holy Father.  At the end, in a very delicate and warm voice, he said only:

“Arturo, thank you”

 Then, the Holy Father gently turned on a side.  It was visible on his face that he is happy, ready for his last voyage. “– he recalled.