1. Nicely written, Joel. That time period was a particularly exiting stage in our relationship, wasn’t it? I’m grateful for Pape Bene’s influence on our marriage. He has taught us both in so many ways.

  2. I can relate to the sadness you described when John Paul II died. In my case, as a brand new convert to the Church, I was surprised how sad I felt to hear Pope Benedict XVI was stepping down. Benedict XVI will always be my first introduction to the fatherhood of the Pope, and I am grateful for his humility.

  3. I was confirmed in 2001 at age 24. I know John Paul II paved the way for my path into the Catholic church. Without his affirmation of certain lay movements and his initiation of World Youth Day the Catholic friends who witnessed to me would not have found their own faith. Benedict XVI executed with wisdom and profound deliberation much of what JPII began, creating a deeper fullness to the charismatic outreach John Paul II began. I love them both, but I am excited to hear who God has chosen to be the next Pope, the Pope my four-month-old daughter will grow up with…

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