Man of Many Talents: April 4, 2005:
A MAN OF MANY TALENTS
His father was an Army officer, his mother a school teacher, both parents died when he was young. He grew up under the heel of the Nazis and the Communists. He was a man of diverse talents: Sportsman: mountain climber, skier, soccer goalie, kayaker, Tradesman: stonecutter, worker at a chemical plant. Social worker: Worked at a marriage counseling service, specializing in problems resulting from alcoholism and spousal abuse. Creative personality: poet, actor in an underground theater. He was a “class act.”
His name was Karol Józef Wojtyla, a simple man from Poland known to most people as Pope John Paul II. He passed away Saturday, aftyer suffering from many health problems. At the end, he was nourished by artificial food and hydration.
Wshen John Paul II visited Anchorage in 1981, he delivered a message that is as true today as it was then, when he brougfht words of unity to our unique Alaska culture by saying, ”Here are many people of diverse backgrounds and cultures drawn into one community of faith. Here native Alaskans – Eskimis,Aleuts, Indians, join together with people from all parts of the United States to form one community.”
That was a good lesson from John Paul II for all of us. Alaska has forty llegislative House districts, and forty elected representatives, but together we are one community, one family. When we disagree, we are still family. We are all Alaskans together. Everybody counts.
John Paul will be missed by the entire human community, tregardless of individual faiths and points of view on controversial issues. But we can all rejoice for his leadership by example. He touched the world, and the world is a better place because of his example. .