I am delighted to inform you that my private member’s bill proclaiming April 2nd as Pope John Paul II Day in Ontario passed final reading on March 17th.
It was a special day not only for Catholics in our province, but for all Ontarians. Pope John Paul II was a universal figure and spiritual leader whose legacy is marked by his strong commitment to peace, equality, human rights, and multi-faith dialogue and understanding.
With the passage of this bill, Pope John Paul II, the only pope to visit our province, will be officially commemorated on April 2nd each year in Ontario. We now only await Royal Assent, which should follow shortly.
We hope that we will quickly receive Royal Assent so that we will be able to celebrate Pope John Paul II Day in Ontario this upcoming April 2nd. It would be extra special as John Paul II will become a saint on April 27th. Thus, Ontarians will have two occasions this April to celebrate and honour the life of this extraordinary man.
Being able to celebrate Pope John Paul II Day this year on April 2nd will also provide us an extra opportunity to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. John Paul II played an instrumental role in communism’s downfall, most notably in his native Poland, where, from the beginning of his pontificate and throughout the Solidarity years, his pious leadership helped provide Poles with hope, courage and resilience in the struggle against communist oppression.
No other pope of the modern era has had a greater spiritual and political impact.
We are planning the first Pope John Paul II Day this upcoming April 2nd with a reception at Queen’s Park, and we hope you will be to attend. Invitations with specific details will be sent shortly. I very much look forward to celebrating Pope John Paul II Day with you on April 2nd.
Dipika Damerla, MPP
1420 Burnhamthorpe Rd. E., Unit #315
Mississauga, ON L4X 2Z9
Tel.: 905.238.1751 / Fax: 905.238.4918