Archdiocese marks 25th anniversary of papal visit

SAN ANTONIO – It's been almost 25 years since Pope John Paul II made his visit to San Antonio on September 13, 1987.

More than 350,000 people gathered at the papal mass. Pat Rodgers with the Archdiocese in San Antonio said it was the largest crowd to ever assemble for a single event in Texas

"It was moving to see him," said Mary Wisniewski, the director of the Mission Office for the Archdiocese. "I'm of polish heritage. My grandma actually is from the Southern Poland, where he is from. So, it was really touching to have a chance to have him here."

On Friday,, the Archdiocese of San Antonio, led by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia Siller, is celebrating the historic event at the blessed John Paul II Monument.

The monument stands adjacent to John Paul Stevens high school, where the papal mass was held.

"I hope people remember his legacy especially with his monument here," said Dolores Martinez, who went to the papal mass and received communion from Pope John Paul. "It's a wonderful tribute to him and for a historical event for the city of San Antonio"

Friday's ceremony at the monument kicks off a week of events commemorating Pope John Paul's visit to San Antonio until the anniversary date on September 13th, where the archdiocese has set aside an evening of prayer for those who feel a call to the priesthood or other religious vocations.

"That was important to the pope," said Pat Rodgers Deacon, director of communications for the Archdiocese of San Antonio. "That is very important to our archbishop and from now on, the 13th will be remembered and declared a day for vocations of the archdiocese of San Antonio."

The archdiocese is also planning to display a statue of Pope John Paul II inside the San Fernando Cathedral in November.

About the Author:

Stephanie Serna is a weekday anchor on Good Morning San Antonio and GMSA at 9 a.m. She joined the KSAT 12 News team in November 2009 as a general assignments reporter.