During his silver anniversary celebration in Rome next month, Pope John Paul II will receive a collection of 10,000 letters and drawings from U.S. Catholic school students. The messages ask how to cope with such traumas as the loss of a pet or a divorce, and pose other questions only children can — or will — ask.
Kelley, 9, wants to know if John Paul, elected Oct. 16, 1978, had to audition for the job. Jamie, 13, is concerned about the pope’s social life: “Do you ever just hang out with your friends like going to the movies, bowling or bingo?” Amy, 10, gets philosophical: “If God made us in his own image, then why didn’t He make us perfect?” And Dylan asks: “Since you are in Italy, how come the Popemobile isn’t a Ferrari or a Lamborghini?”
Those and other jewels appear in “Dear Papa: Children Celebrate Pope John Paul II With Letters of Love and Affection,” one of several books commemorating the pope’s 25-year reign.