[link to www.holyspiritinteractive.net
When Pope John Paul II died on April 2, 2005 there were any number of fascinating coincidences that surrounded his death. They were the sort of thing that make you go “hmmmm” and (if one is a wobbly agnostic) begin to suspect that maybe You Know Who has His hand in things after all.
For instance, John Paul managed to go to his reward in the one sliver of time which tied together Easter, Fatima and the Divine Mercy Feast which he himself had established (he died on Saturday evening, the Vigil of the Feast of Divine Mercy, which falls in the Octave of Easter). Given the movable nature of the Easter Feast (not to mention the moveable nature of First Saturdays, a devotion associated with the apparitions of our Lady of Fatima), this is as impressive a bit of chance, if chance it was, as you could ask for. However, like so much about his papacy, one does get the sense that such a theatrical gesture must have pleased him as he approached the Pearly Gates. It had everything: it tied together Our Lady of Fatima (on whose feast day he was shot, May 13, 1981), as well as the Third Secret of Fatima (which, in part, concerned the shooting), as well as St. Faustina, a fellow Pole whose private revelation concerning the Divine Mercy so appealed to John Paul II, the author of Dives in Misericordia.
And the weirdness doesn’t end there. Seekers of signs will also find that there was a partial eclipse on the day of his funeral: God flying the flag at half staff. Nor is that all: for it also turns out John Paul was born during a solar eclipse too. One of my readers wrote at the time, offering this bit of homespun exegesis of all this:
Here's an interesting thing I noticed about the upcoming eclipse: It will occur while it is night in Rome and Poland. As night falls on the Supreme Pontiff and his homeland, God has ordained that it will fall on the rest of the world as well.
And though one need not insist on any of this as a divine sign, one should not be terribly surprised that some took it so. Given his devotion to Our Lady of Fatima (whose great sign was the Miracle of the Sun) and her rescue of him (as he plainly believed) on May 13, 1981 (the anniversary of the first appearance of Mary at Fatima), it's hard not to see Something Significant betokened by all this.