I know that he officially died on 2nd April, but it was this morning, 3rd April in Australia, three years ago that I woke to hear the news that he had died. It really was as if a member of my family had passed away. Perhaps non-Catholics can’t really understand it, but we (well most of us) have a deep love for our Roman patriarch.
My children picked up on the sense of grief. My youngest, who was then a 4 year old at kindergarten, became very “clingy” over the next few days. Her Kinder teacher asked (by way of suggesting an explanation) whether there had been a “death in the family”. “No,” said Cathy, but then after a bit of thought, “There was the pope dying…”
As we waited for the conclave to elect a new pope, many, like me, wondered if we would be able to love his successor with the same affection. We needn’t have worried. All who loved John Paul love Papa Benny.
I know that one day, he will also die and we will get a new pope. I pray that day will be far off, but it is in God’s hands. That’s another thing about being Catholic. We don’t think “The next pope will change this” (well, most of us don’t). We think: “God will always give us a pope who will faithfully shepherd his Church in the way we should go”. It is a true sense of trust in the Holy Spirit and his chosen servants.