Published 12:00 am Monday, April 11, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — As hundreds of thousands of people have descended upon Vatican City, we here at home are also reflecting on the extraordinary life that was Karol Wojtyla’s, better known to the world as Pope John Paul II.

No matter your religious, moral or political beliefs, respect and awe takes over when you think of a man who did so much for the benefit of humanity.

At the pope’s funeral on Friday, reporters commented numerous times on the stunning attendance by young mourners. The pope has always given an impression that he had a particular love for the youth.

At St. Joan of Catholic School in LaPlace, all of the children are too young to have even been born when the pope visited this area, when Catholic kids in the Superdome shouted “JP 2- We love you!” but not too young to feel the importance of the legacy he is leaving behind.

L’Observateur asked some of the students of St. Joan of Arc their opinions on what the pope meant to their world, and found they appreciated the magnitude of his teachings.

As Paul Cupit, a 7th grader said, “He was treated like a rock star to kids.”

On the Pope’s Travels:

Erin Rogers, 8th grade- It made a big difference because he was outside his religion. Instead of just going to the Catholic community, he went to other nations, other religions and he spread the word and he also lived by it.

Austin Rodrigue, 6th grade-His traveling showed that he was the leader of the Roman Catholic church, but he lived as a shepard for all people, no matter what race, what religion, you were part of Gods family.

Paul Cupit- People who may have not liked Pope John Paul respected him because he visited them and respected them, even though they are not Catholic.

On the pope forgiving Mehmet Ali Agca, his would-be assassin:

Austin- He is the living image of Christ, by him forgiving him, he was leading by example for everyone.

Paige Rauschuber, 5th grade- I think it’s very important that he forgave that man, because I know it is hard to forgive people, especially after they do something really terrible to you. It shows how great of a person he was.

Paul- God said to forgive people 70 times seven and Pope John Paul followed that by forgiving the man who shot him.

On the pope’s reaffirmation of priestly celibacy:

Austin- I hope to become a Catholic priest once I get older, and priestly celibacy is the acknowledgement of the Holy Spirit in a few senses, and them not getting married shows they are supposed to put God first in their lives. As a priest, the church should always come first, the church is your bride.

On the pope’s apology to the Jewish:

Erin- I think it’s great that he apologized to them, it just shows how he is not eliminating someone because of their religion, and that he tries to work with everyone. It make the world a better place for the next generation.

On what we will remember:

Erin- We will mostly remember how he was so nice to other people, and how he preached the word and made sure he lived by it.

Paige- People will remember how much of a good man he was and how he devoted his life to God, and what he taught people.