June 2-10, 1979, Pope John Paul II traveled to his native Poland to address a war-torn country. One third of the population saw him live, millions more listened on the radio and watched him on television as he told the depressed population: "Do not be afraid."
Newt and Callista Gingrich came to Fordham last night to present a screening of their newest documentary, Nine Days that Changed the World, about the historic trip. We were captivated by a story we knew very little about prior to this week.
After the screening we thanked the Gingrichs for coming to the Bronx. I shared that I was most struck by the power of Pope John Paul's devotion to the cross. Callista was very gracious and reiterated a point made in the documentary that as a country the U.S. hasn't experienced the radical oppression that many countries have because of the faith we cling to.