In 1979, John Paul said this to a group of seminarians in Ireland:
"I wish to recall to you one simple but important lesson taken from the life of St. Patrick, and it is this: in the history of evangelization, the destiny of an entire people--your people--was radically affected for time and eternity because of the fidelity with which St. Patrick embraced and proclaimed the Word of God, and by reason of the fidelity with which St. Patrick pursued his call to the end.
"...God counts on you: he makes his plans, in a way, depend on your free collaboration.
"The Catholic faith of Ireland today was linked, in God's plan, to the fidelity of St. Patrick. And tomorrow, yes, tomorrow some part of God's plan will be linked to your fidelity--to the fervor with which you say yes to God's Word in your lives.... Remember St. Patrick. Remember what the fidelity of just one man has meant for Ireland and the world."
I remember reading those words at the time and they made a deep impression on me. I had made my first profession of vows about 3 months before, and they inspired me to want to live out better the vocation God had called me to, despite all my failings.
But reading them now, after all these years, in light of what this Pope's pontificate has meant for the Church and the world, makes me so grateful that the pope lived out his vocation so faithfully. We can say, "Remember John Paul. Remember what the fidelity of just one man has meant for the Church and the whole world!"