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Be Not Afraid: A Retreat Guide on St. John Paul II

January 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Retreat Guides

john-paul-ii-retreat-guide Be not Afraid

Be Not Afraid: A Retreat Guide on St. John Paul II


The latest Retreat Guide from RC Spirituality, Be Not Afraid: A Retreat Guide on St. John Paul II, is now available at www.RCSpirituality.org.

When Karol Wojtyla, the Archbishop of Krakow, Poland, emerged onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome after being chosen by the conclave of cardinals as Pope John Paul II, he made history.

  • Not only was he a young choice, not even 60 years old at the time, but he was also the first non-Italian pope in almost five hundred years.
  • Standing on the balcony and overlooking the tens of thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square to welcome him, he departed from the usual protocol. Instead of simply giving a blessing, he engaged in a spontaneous dialogue with the crowd. He gave an off-the-cuff reflection about feeling inadequate for the papacy, about his trust in God, and about his confidence in the people of God, the very people who had gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

That night, he hand-wrote his first papal homily, which set the tone for the next 26 years of his papacy. In it he said:

Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power… Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ… So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt which turns into despair. We ask you therefore, we beg you with humility and trust, let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life. (Homily, 22 October 1978)

“Be Not Afraid!” That is the title of this Retreat Guide, which will give us a chance to reflect on what made this Polish Pope so holy, inspiring, and spiritually fruitful.

The First Meditation will explore his conviction about the power of ideas.

The Second Meditation will explore his belief in the power of witness.

And the Conference will reflect on the theme of vocation—of life as a calling.

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About Fr. John Bartunek, LC

Fr. John Bartunek, LC, S.Th.D, received his BA in History from Stanford University in 1990. He comes from an evangelical Christian background and became a member of the Catholic Church in 1991. After college, he worked as a high school history teacher, drama director, and baseball coach. He then spent a year as a professional actor in Chicago before entering the religious Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1993. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2003 and earned his doctorate in moral theology in 2010. He provided spiritual support on the set of Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" while researching the 2005 Catholic best seller, "Inside the Passion"--the only authorized, behind-the-scene explanation of the film. Fr. John has contributed news commentary regarding religious issues on NBC, CNN, Fox, and the BBC. He also served as the English-language press liaison for the Vatican’s 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist. His most widely known book is called: "The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer". His most recent books are "Spring Meditations", "Seeking First the Kingdom: 30 Meditations on How to Love God with All Your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength", and "Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions". Fr. John currently splits his time between Michigan (where he continues his writing apostolate and serves as a confessor and spiritual director at the Queen of the Family Retreat Center) and Rome, where he teaches theology at Regina Apostolorum. His online, do-it-yourself retreats are available at RCSpirituality.org, and he answers questions about the spiritual life at SpiritualDirection.com.

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