Only a few hours after the Pope's death was announced we began to receive questions. Several young people at the church asked, "Do you think the Pope is now in heaven?" We took the time to explain that our good works can never merit salvation. We also explained that only God knows the true heart of an individual. Sadly many realize the Pope may have tried to earn his way to heaven on his own merit. In Sunday school, while discussing the church, we explained that as Christians, Christ is the head of the church. We are blessed to have Christ, not the Pope, as our mediator with God the Father.
Peru has basically shut down today as the start of three days of national mourning starts. All schools, government offices, banks, and many public businesses are closed. All Catholics are urged to spend the next nine days praying for the "eternal rest" of Pope John Paul II. Special events have drawn thousands into local Catholic churches. Most people are wearing black ribbons or armbands as a tribute to this hero of the Catholic church.
As always, it reminds us of the great spiritual need here in Peru. Will you pray for those folks searching for the truth?