Peak named after "mountain theologian" John Paul

Pope John Paul, who was an avid mountaineer in his younger years, had an Italian mountain peak named in his honour yesterday, which would have been his 85th birthday.

Reuters reports that the 2400 metre peak, in Italy's imposing Gran Sasso range, was previously known as "The Gendarme". The Gran Sasso range is the highest set of peaks in the Appennines in the Abruzzo region.

"...Mountains always exercised a strong and suggestive fascination over the mind of John Paul," said Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, who called the former pontiff "the mountain theologian".

During his long reign, the late Holy Father sometimes used to slip out of the Vatican to pay private visits to the Gran Sasso range, which is in Italy's central Abruzzo region.

Monsignor Casolini, a member of the Abruzzo region committee which launched the initiative, said back in March: "We decided on the Gran Sasso because the Pope visited it many times in order to get some rest as well as to pray."

John Paul reportedly told pilgrims in St. Peter's Square once that in the Bible, mountains "were considered a special place to meet God."

Meanwhile, Catholic World News says that Pope Benedict XVI paid homage to his predecessor at yesterday's public audience.

"We wish to give thanks to the Lord for the gift of this great Pope, and for everything he did and suffered," Benedict said.

Speaking to about 25,000 people who braved a driving rain in St. Peter's Square, the Pontiff continued the series of catechetical talks on the psalms which Pope John Paul had begun, speaking about Psalm 112, "Praise the name of the Lord."

Peak named after John Paul, "mountain theologian" (Reuters 18/5/05)
Pope, at audience, recalls birthday of John Paul II (Catholic World News 18/5/05)

Benedict XVI General Audience - text (18/5/05)
Gran Sasso

Pope to have mountain named after him (CathNews 30/3/05)

Peak is named after late pontiff (BBC 18/5/05)
Benedict shows own style after month as Pope (Reuters/Wired 18/5/05)
Transcendent God reaches out to us in our humility, says Pope Benedict on the birthday of John Paul II (Catholic News Agency 18/5/05)
Pope Benedict praises renaming of Italian peak for John Paul II (Catholic News Agency 18/5/05)
Terri Schiavo's parents attend Papal audience, thank Vatican for support (Catholic News Agency 18/5/05)
'St John Paul II' move welcomed (Catholic Weekly 22/5/05)
Pope meets with Schiavo parents (Catholic World News 18/5/05)
Parents give Pope picture of Terri Schiavo (Reuters 18/5/05)
Poles celebrate Pope John Paul's birth (Sydney Morning Herald/Australian Associated Press 18/5/05)
Pope to Watch T.V. Film on Karol Wojtyla (Zenit 17/5/05)
Seminarians Double In 25 Years (Zenit 17/5/05)
Terri Schiavo's Parents Thank Vatican (Zenit 17/5/05)

19 May 2005