This is an excerpt of my interview with Fr. Glenn Gomez SVD in 2005. He talks about his unforgettable experience with Pope John Paul II:
When he came here first time in 1981 as a Pope, dumaan siya dito sa may Christ the King, E. Rodriguez Avene, nakuhanan ko pa siya ng picture. Seminarista pa ako noon, second-year College ako.
In 1995, World Youth Day, nandoon kami sa St. Jude Parish, dumaan siya sa San Miguel, nakita ko na naman siya. Everytime na makikita ko siya, tumatayo ang balahibo ko…his holiness truly exudes eh.
In October 2003, I met him third time when I was in Rome to attend the canonization of Father Arnold Janssen, founder of SVD (Gomez’ congregation), another priest Joseph Freina de Metz, and another priest.
We had an audience with him. Almost one and a half meter away lang ang layo ko sa kanya. It was the last time I saw him.
He has a magnetic personality. In fact, I have been reflecting on his life. I keep on reflecting the “Power of One”. See the power of John Paul II, as one person, what he did to the world. ‘Yung power niya kasi is the Power of God, the Power of the Spirit. Ang personal reflection ko kasi diyan is if we just allow God to dominate us then see the effect of the Power of One. Now, even in his death, John Paul II, continually serves humanity and the world. Ngayon, we experience as one family parang nagkaroon siya ng borderless…he is a symbol of unity and truly a man of peace because all the interfaith…Jews, Muslims, even those who don’t believe in God truly salute him, hindi lang Christians and Catholics, but the whole of humanity just keep on praising John Paul II.
He is not only a priest, bishop, archbishops, cardinal and pope; he is also a writer, poet, and stage actor. Before the war, he was an actor. When the war broke out he entered the seminary. He is a lover of sports. He is a philosopher, theologian, visionary, mystic and modern day prophet.
May mystical experiences siya, ’yun talagang direct experience of God.
His greatest achievements, he is a defender of life. Up to the last minute, he is against abortion, artificial means of birth control. He is a promoter of family values; he didn’t allow same sex marriage that is why he is being criticized for being conservative.
He is also against women ordination, priest getting married. He is also known as the creator of World Youth Day, which is being celebrated every two-years.
In 1984, he started World Youth Day celebration. Part of the history is in 1995, when at least 45 million Filipinos gathered for the occasion.
He also added another Luminous Mystery or the Mystery of Light to the Holy Rosary. The other mysteries are the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mystery.
In our life there are joys, sorrows, glories or ecstasies, kapag umikot ‘yung luwalhati mo ay may tuwa ulit and then pighati, pataas ka ng pataas, until you reach the light. Sa kanya, ang solusyon is to transcend or move up.
He is also (God’s instrument) instrumental in the death of communism in Poland and Eastern Europe.
He also reached more than 100 apostolic visits to different countries or an average of five visits a year. He visited the Philippines twice.
He was the first Pope who visited the Jews synagogues and Moslem mosque.
Personally, ang ganda ng vision niya for the world. He promoted the culture of life and civilization of love. Kaya hanggang ngayon, he is very much loved by the world. He brought the division of religion; he is truly of a man of peace, a man of unity and a man of God and that is the Power of One when we allow God and the spirit to dominate us. It breaks barriers, it connects people, it unites religion.
May lungkot sa ating puso, but it outweighs ng lahat ng kanyang nagawa. Eto siya ngayon. Ngayon naman our way of letting go, he deserves a good rest. We let him go and we just thank God for sending John Paul II in our lives in our midst.