April 2nd, 2015 will be Canada’s first Pope John Paul II Day after MP Wladislaw Lizon’s Private Member’s Bill C-266 - An Act to establish Pope John Paul II Day - received Royal Assent on the evening of December 16th, 2014. This bill designates the second day of April annually in Canada as “Pope John Paul II Day.”
John Paul II died on April 2, 2005 and was canonized with John XXIII on April 27, 2014 by Pope Francis. John Paul II presented a valuable message of courage, a strong stand against human rights violations, a defense of freedom and profound statements of hope and commitment to all people.
This is a special day to recall and commemorate the significant impact and contribution Saint Pope John Paul II had on the world and Canada. World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto was his last World Youth Day. In his final days with us here on earth, the Holy Father said to the thousands who kept prayerful vigil with him in St. Peter's Square: "I have looked for you. Now you have come to me. And I thank you."
The following is an excerpt from the Parliament of Canada website:
Bill C-266: An Act to establish Pope John Paul II Day
Whereas Pope John Paul II served as the pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church from October 16, 1978, until his death on April 2, 2005;
Whereas Pope John Paul II is widely recognized as a leading figure in the history of the Roman Catholic Church and the world and played an influential and vital role in promoting international understanding and peace;
Whereas Pope John Paul II loved young persons and was instrumental in establishing World Youth Day in 1985 as a way to inspire youth and encourage them in living out the teachings of Christ;
Whereas Pope John Paul II visited Canada in his capacity as Pope for the first time in 1984 and later in 1987 and 2002;
And whereas Pope John Paul II visited many countries around the world and helped to end communism in Eastern Europe;
Throughout Canada, in each and every year, the second day of April is to be known as “Pope John Paul II Day”.
Photo Credit: CNS photo / Joe Rimkus Jr. via the Diocese of Hamilton