Santo Domingo (Fides Agency) - “The news of the disease and death of John Paul II has reached the Dominican Republic as if it struck one of its dearest children” Fr Luis Rosario Pena, responsible for youth pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo, told Fides. “For this small country in the Greater Antilles, John Paul II was like a Dominican born in Poland”. Fr Luis underlines the broad coverage that the media have given to the final moments of the Holy Father and the intense atmosphere of prayer that they produced. “The young people did not want to be left behind and they celebrated a vigil of prayer on the very night of Saturday April 2nd, the day he passed away, that reached its climax at dawn on Sunday with the Eucharistic celebration presided over by Msg. Fabio Mamerto Rivas, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Barahona”.
In the afternoon of Sunday, April 3rd, in the Cathedral, there was a common Eucharistic celebration presided over by His Eminence Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez and the bishops of the country, with the participation of local authorities. In his homily the Cardinal stressed “the bonds that connected Pope John Paul II to the Dominican Republic” and he invited the community to pray for the cardinals, that the Lord may enlighten them in electing the Pope. For the day of the funeral rites of the Pope there will be a common celebration in the Basilica of Our Lady of Altagracia in the city of Higuey, presided over by the President of the Dominican Episcopal Conference, Msg. Ramon della Rosa y Carpio, Archbishop of Santiago de los Caballeros, with the participation of the bishops and priests.
“In the Dominican Republic John Paul II has left the witness of a man with a powerful faith and a great capability to endure sufferance, which he bore on his shoulders, aware that he would join in this way the sorrow of the world” Fr Luis Rosario Pena concluded. “Pope John Paul II was a friendly man, close to the people, who would break the ceremonial in order to reach the hearts of the humblest, following the style of Jesus”. (RG) (Fides Agency 5/4/2005, 23 lines, 331 words)