I met 'Pope John Paul III' on Easter Sunday
On Easter Sunday afternoon in the chapel in the village where I live here in Bacolod City I baptized a girl born in January. At the celebratory dinner later a boy of nine, whom I'll call 'Carlos', approached me with a big smile on his face and told me that he wanted to be like me - a priest. But he had something even more in mind - he wanted to be Pope! And he knows the name he will call himself - Pope John Paul III.
'Carlos' is too young to have any real personal memories of Blessed John Paul but he must have heard, read and seen quite a bit about him for that pope to have made such an impression on him. He goes to Blessed Carmel Sallés School, named after the foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Mary who run the school. She was canonized last October but there are 'hoops' to be gone through before the Conceptionist Sisters can change its name.
St Carmen Sallés (1848 - 1911)
The three Sisters at present in the community in Bacolod are Koreans and I am their confessor.
Young 'Carlos' insisted on speaking in English to me and spoke the language very well. I asked him why he would take the name 'John Paul III' and he said that Blessed John Paul was a 'success'. I'm not quite sure what he meant by that.
Later I asked him, 'What if there's a John Paul III before you?' 'Oh, I'll be John Paul IV', he said!
The first girl in the video above wonders if Pope Benedict when he was a youngster had the same idea as 'Carlos'!
I pray that 'Carlos' will grow strong in his faith and that if God is calling him to be a priest that he will answer that call.