SF State Students Celebrate Pontiff's Legacy
Pope dies, proceedings for a new pope started
April 7, 2005 10:21 AM
While the Vatican prepares to elect a new pope and grieves for an old one, here at SF State, the Newman Club, a catholic campus ministry, organized a concert at Malcolm X Plaza on April 4 to remember the pope and sing songs of spirituality.
Pope John Paul II died on April 2 at age 84.
Spirituality echoed through Malcolm X Plaza as four women sung a Catholic song, called “Solidarity,” to the students.
“(We want) to offer commemoration to the memory of a man who lived his life to the fullest,” said Sufern Khoo, a club member.
One of the singers, Griselda Jimenez, 24, said the event was an opportunity to share with students.
“(I want them) to dream and … live out dreams to change society, world, family and friends. We can do something,” Jimenez said.
The sunny day and moving music invited students to sit and listen, but most just walked by.
“Beyond being the spiritual head of the Catholic Church, this one (pope) is the one I grew up with,” said Martinez.
Born Karol Józef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920 in Krakow, Poland, Pope John Paul II was one of two sons of Karol Wojtyla and Emilia Kaczorowska. In 1942, he began studying in the clandestine seminary. He received his doctorate in theology in 1948 and later became a professor of moral theology and social ethics in Krakow and at the Faculty of Theology of Lublin.
In 1958, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Krakow by Pope Pius XII. In 1964, he was nominated archbishop of Krakow by Pope Paul VI, who made him a cardinal in 1967. He became Pope John Paul II on Oct. 16, 1978.
During his term, Pope John Paul II completed 104 pastoral visits outside of Italy, including one to San Francisco in 1987. He visited the United States four times, meeting with every president from Jimmy Carter to Bill Clinton.
“As much as I disagreed with the pope, I do recognize that he was compassionate," said Jeremy Scavarda, an international relations major who called himself a lapsed Catholic. “(He was) more interested in reaching out to people than shutting them out. I honor and respect him for the work that he did.”
Scavarda is a student in Dr. Fred Astren’s Judaism, Christianity and Islam class. Astren, director of the Jewish studies program, asked his class to pay attention to the events as the College of Cardinals elects a new pope. Astren wants his students to take advantage of the transition as a learning opportunity.
“This hasn’t happened since I was a young man,” said Astren. “(The) structure and workings of the Roman Catholic Church are revealed.
“(The) beliefs, hopes and aspirations of the church are expressed.”
The selection of a new pope begins 15-20 days after the pope’s death, according to the Office of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The Conclave, which is made up of the College of Cardinals who are under 80 years old, will be sealed in the Vatican for the secret voting. The cardinals will continue to be isolated until a new pope is elected by a two-thirds vote, though they can choose to allow a simple majority vote.
When a final decision is reached, a chemical is added to the ballots and burned with white smoke emerging from the chimney, signaling the decision. The announcement will be made from the balcony of the Sistine Chapel, according to the Office of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
“When something like this happens we are reminded (of) the impact that religion has on our society, the impact on this religious community and in the world,” said Astren.
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