He also liked Tuesdays, when he was able to go outside the city and over there – in peace – concentrate on prayers and … readings. He liked Sunday’s visits to parishes in Rome. He was very fond of it. People were saying that he was the Pastor of the world, as he was traveling a lot. However, at the same time he felt as the Pastor of Rome, thus so often he was moving around in Rome. Always, when he had a free Sunday, when there were no solemn celebrations, we were going to various Roman parishes. He really wanted to visit all of them. He put this as a point of honor. There were more than three hundred parishes. He was not able to visit maybe eight of them. He really regretted it. But, he did not have enough strength and time. In last years, when he had more issues with walking, he did not stop his visits to parishes, but he made less of them. However, more often he was inviting parishes to visit him at the Vatican.
– How a parish’s visit at the Vatican looked like?
– The parish representatives were attending the Mass in the Paul VI’s Hall. All who wanted and were able were coming. Usually, we were inviting two or three parish’s communities. At first, there was a normal Mass and then the delegations were approaching the Holy Father. It was like a family meeting. Such as a parishes meeting and not official Papal meetings. Parishioners were very grateful for that. They understood that he is not able to visit parishes so often and they felt that he did not forget about them. They very gladly attended these meetings. (…) Beside of being the Pope, he also was the Bishop of Rome. He knew that as the Bishop of Rome, he is supposed to visit his parishes. He was doing this in Kraków and he kept doing this in Rome. Every year, he was looking forward to the Holy Week. It was a special time for him. Not only Christmas, although the closest ones knew that he had a huge weakness to Nativity scenes and Christmas carols. Beside sun rises, for which he was getting up so early, he also liked sun sets. I was able to see it when we were returning from walks in Castel Gandolfo. We were going back for suppers. In September, at that time around 7:30 p.m., the sun was setting down. We always stopped for a moment to see how it is going down by the sea. The Holy Father was immersing in prayers.
Archbishop Mokrzycki “He liked Tuesdays the most”
M Publisher, Kraków 2008