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For the first time, people were realizing that the Pope was once a child

There was an extraordinary relationship between Karol Wojtyła and children; starting with the fact, that he was the first Pope in the history of the Church, who wrote a letter to children from all over the world.  The letter addressed only to them; to children.  It was them who were invited as the direct addresses of the Supreme Shepherd and they have received the great and serious task: to pray for peace in the world.  The text was simple, understandable, did not aspire to be a small Encyclical letter, as somebody in the Vatican said, but it identified with thoughts, with mentality, and with life of children.  And, indeed, it was written not by the Pope, but by Karol, Lolek – as he used to be called at home and by his friends.  In the letter, there was Lolek who recalled how during Christmas he was walking in a hurry to see the Christmas Nativity scene.  He also recalled how the day of the First Communion was a big celebration in the parish, which could not go without the family photograph.  Think well: for the first time, people were realizing that the Pope was once a child.  When the next Pope was elected, his official biography        began from his youth years, the most from the seminary years.  Never, it mentioned earlier years.  Never, before his childhood was mentioned.  And, now it was the Pope who wrote: “I am thinking of when many years ago I was a child like you. “(…) With children he started to talk about himself.  The most distant memory related to his older brother Edmund, whom he admired.  One day, Edmund went to play soccer, as he took with him Lolek (who was 4-5 years old) he left him behind the goal net.  Someone kicked the ball that struck him and knocked to the ground.

Lolek was a child like everyone else.  He was a bright student at school, but not – as they say – a crammer/nerd.  Also, he started to play soccer and was the goalie.  He had a lot of friends, among whom there was Jerzy Kluger, a Jew, with whom he was friends for life.  He used to swim in the Skawa River, and in winter time, he was skating.  When he was nine years old, he lost his mother, then brother, and in the end, his father.  He could be an actor, but he decided to follow his priestly vocation.  Meantime, the Second World War broke out… and here the memories end.  Too much tragedy! A lot of grief!

When John Paul II was among children, although always very natural, very spontaneous, he seemed then to be fully himself. There was even the impression that he would like to be a child.  “Is not Jesus pointing to children as models even for grown-ups?” – He wrote in the letter.  Maybe also for that reason, when he was taking a child in his arms, he kissed her/him and then, he was raising her/him into the sky, to show to all and in the way to say: you need to get back the innocence of life, so present in any child.  He did the same on this memorable day of May 13, 1981, taking into his arms a little blonde. And, soon after he gave her back to her parents, there were the horrible shots…

With the consent of Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz – “At the side of the Saint”