Here's a very moving story about Pope John Paul II from the layman who accompanied and photographed him in some of his most intimate moments for 27 years. A story that I’d never heard before, a perfect read just hours before his beatification.
“It was May 4, 1984 and Pope John Paul II was visiting Sorok Island off South Korea, a one-time leper colony where several hundred people with the disfiguring disease were receiving care."
“The protocol that day in 1984 called for John Paul to enter the Sarok pavilion where the patients were gathered, give a brief speech on the meaning of suffering, then leave. But after surveying the scene, John Paul brushed aside a cardinal who tried to speed him along, and set to work.
He touched them with his hands, caressed them, kissed each one," Mari said. "Eight hundred lepers, one by one. One by one!"
For me he was a man of God," the 71-year-old Mari said in an interview this week inside his apartment just steps from the Vatican.
I can guarantee you he was a living saint, because everything I could see with my eyes, hear with my ears, you cannot believe that this man could do so much.”
Sherry's note - the picture above shows Pope John Paul II with lepers - not in South Korea but in Africa