The Beatification of John Paul: The Photo Chosen for the Ceremony

The photo chosen to hang from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica for the Beatification of Pope John Paul II was taken by Polish photographer Grzegorz Galazka, the photographer for Inside the Vatican magazine

By Robert Moynihan, from Rome

Just a brief note on Monday morning from Rome, as the special Mass in memory of Blessed Pope John Paul II is taking place in a crowded St. Peter’s Square on a cool Roman morning under a grey sky, but without rain, so far.

It has been little noted in the press that the photo hanging from the main balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica was taken by Grzegorz (Gregorio) Galazka, a Polish photographer who also is the photographer for Inside the Vatican magazine.

The photo image was also prepared for publication and graphically elaborated — the colors of the image and the white, halo-like cloud around the Pope’s head — by graphic designer Giuseppe Sabatelli, an Italian who is the chief graphic designer for Inside the Vatican magazine, and by the technicians at Michalineum publishing house in Warsaw, Poland.

The photo was taken in Rome in 1989.

This connection between some of the staff of Inside the Vatican and the May 1 beatification ceremony is a matter of a certain pride for all of us at the magazine, so I thought I would mention it here. Also, I wanted to give a biot of recognition to Gregorio, as many do not know that it was his photo that was chosen.

When the magazine was first launched in 1993, Grzegorz and I were able to present our “zero issue” to Pope
John Paul during a general audience at Castel Gandolfo in the summer of 1993. John Paul encouraged us to continue our modest journalistic initiative at that time, and we did so, attempting to do what we could, in words and images, to chronicle his pontificate, and, in some small way, to help in the task of working for justice and peace, and in announcing the triumphant Gospel of christ’s resurrection in a world where the shadow of sin and death darkens and finally extinguishes our existence.

Now, 18 years have passed by.

In some way, the choice of one of Gregorio’s photos to hang from the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica during the Mass in which John Paul was declared “Blessed” — a benediction to all mankind — was deeply moving to all of us.

—Robert Moynihan

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