April 30, 2011

Positivity: Official papal photographer recalls life with ‘a living saint’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:05 am

From Vatican City:

Apr 29, 2011 / 01:05 am

Arturo Mari was Pope John Paul II’s personal photographer for all 27 years of his pontificate. Now, in the days before John Paul’s beatification, Mari has been recalling his life with the late pontiff.

“For me he was a man of God,” Mari tells Associated Press April 28 in an interview conducted in his apartment just yards 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.”

Many of the images that have come to define the public image of Pope John Paul’s papacy were captured by Mari; the Pope sunning himself in the mountains of Val D’Aosta, lying in a hospital bed after a 1981 assassination attempt and then meeting and forgiving the Turkish man who shot him.

For Mari there are some particular moments that typified John Paul the saint. One such occasion came in 1984 when the Pope was visiting a leprosy hospital on Sorok Island, South Korea. In a break with the official protocol, “he touched them with his hands, caressed them, kissed each one,” says Mari, “Eight hundred lepers, one by one. One by one!” …

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