John Paul II Foundation

I WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO REMEMBER REALLY ALL

Friday was a day of prayer. We were celebrating a Mass, Stations of the Cross, the Third Hour of the Liturgy of the Hours.  Taduesz Styczeń, a close friend of Karol Wojtyła, read a few passages of the Gospel.  The Holy Father’s condition was critical.  With a great difficulty, he was able to say a few syllables.  Then, there was the Saturday, April 2nd.  I would like to be able to recall really everything.  In the room there was the atmosphere of a great serenity.  The Holy Father blessed the crowns for the image of Our Lady of Częstochowa one in the grottos of the St. Peter’s Basilica and two crowns to be sent to Jasna Góra.  Then, he said farewells to his close co-workers, Cardinals, Prelates from the Secretariat of the State, directors of various offices.  He also wanted to say goodbye to Francesco who was responsible for cleaning the apartment.   He was still pretty conscious although he spoke with a great difficulty. He asked for the Gospel of St. John to be read.  It was not our suggestion, he expressed such a wish.   Also, on the last day, as he did all his life, he wanted to feed with the words of God.  Father Styczeń started to read the Gospel of St. John, one chapter after another.  He read nine chapters.  In the book, the point where the reading stopped and the Holy Father died is marked.   In this last moment of his earthly journey, the Holy Father again became the man he always was – the man of prayer. A man of God, deeply united with the Lord, for whom the prayer was a continuously the foundation of existence.  When he was going to meet someone or to make an important decision, write a document or to go on a pilgrimage, at first he always talked to God.  He prayed at first; also and this day, before he left for his last great pilgrimage.  With support of all people who were with him, he prayed all his daily prayers, adoration, mediation, anticipating even the Sunday Lectures of Readings.  At one point, sister Tobiana saw his gaze.  She approached him and put her ear close to his mouth and then, with barely audible voice, he whispered “Let me go to the Lord”.  Sister ran out of the room, she wanted to share with us what she heard, but she could not, as she was crying so hard.  Only later, I thought:  it is great that he directed his last words to the woman.  Around 7 p.m., the Holy Father went into a coma.  The room was only lightened by a glow from the lit “gromnica” blessed candle, which he blessed himself on February 2ndduring the celebrations of Our Lady of Candlemas.  St. Peter’s Square and adjacent to it streets were filling up with crowds.  There were more and more people, especially young people.  Their chants:  „Giovanni Paolo!” and „Viva il Papa!” were reaching the third floor. I am convinced that he also heard it. There is no way that he could not to hear them!  There was almost 8 p.m. when I suddenly felt an inner need to celebrate a Mass! So, we did it together with Cardinal Jaworski, Archbishop Stanisław Ryłko, and two Polish priests – Tadeusz Styczeń and Mieczysław Mokrzycki.  It was a Mass preceding the Sunday celebrations of Divine Mercy, so dear to the Holy Father.  We continued to read the Gospel of St. John: “the doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them.  ’Peace be with you,’ …A the time of the Holy Communion, I was able, as a viaticum, to give a few drops of the Holy Blood of Christ.  There was 9:37 p.m.  We noticed that the Holy Father is not breathing.  And, then we noticed on the monitor that his big heart, after a few beats stopped beating.  Professor Buzzonetti leaned over him and looking at us, he whispered: “He returned to the House of the Father”.  Someone stopped the hands of the clock.  And we, at the same time, as if for the command, started to sing “Te Deum”.  Not “Requiem”, as it was not a mourning time, but the “Te Deum”.  As a gratitude to God for the gift that He gave us, for the gift of the Holy Father, Karol Wojtyła.  We were crying.  How could we not cry!  We were crying with tears of pain and joy.  And then, the lights went on in the entire house… Then, I do not remember anything.  I was under impression that suddenly everything went dark; the darkness above me and inside me.  I was aware what was going on, but I could not accept this thought. Or, maybe, I was not able to understand.  I entrusted myself to God and when it seemed that I was getting high spirits, the darkness was returning…

Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz – “Testimony”