On this day, 35 years ago, at about 7:15pm, the newly-elected Pope John Paul II emerged on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica and immediately won over the crowd. The second papal conclave of the year 1978 would be the last one of the 20th century. John Paul II would be Pope for almost 27 years, guiding the Church and the world into the 21st century. Soon he will be solemnly declared a saint.
In the homily of the Solemn Mass to begin the pontificate several days later, he proclaimed the famous words:
Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power! Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ’s power to serve the human person and the whole of mankind. Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ! To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid! Christ knows “what is in man”. He alone knows it!
Blessed Pope John Paul II, pray for us.