The first song I’ll be recording for the EP project is “Welcome Home,” about the passing of Pope Joh Paul II, who in my opinion, is destined for canonization.  He was the only pope I had really known of, being elected when I was 7 years old, and he held perhaps the greatest global influence of any pope in several centuries. 

His example of holiness allowed him to influence world leaders, and he effectively used the influence of his office to contribute to the downfall of the Soviet Union, and the furthering of the “culture of life.”  A true “servant of the servants of God,” he proclaimed the Gospel in a down-to-earth manner, helping people of all faiths see that they could make a difference in the world.  His support and friendship of another great saint of the 20th century, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, helped the world to see that little things, done in great love can make a bigger impact than all the “great” things done for other motives. 

As his health began to decline over the last few years of his life, his passing became more imminent.  I began to think of what it would be like when his life on earth ended, and his eternal walk with God continued.  He’d leave the physical suffering of his imparied body, and the spiritual and emotional suffering that came with uniting himself with the world’s poor, sick and oppressesed.  As his eyes closed on his final day, I can’t imagine what he’d hear echoing from heaven, except the words from the gospel:  “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” and a warm, loving “welcome, home!” 

I wrote the chorus for this song a few years before he passed on, but never spent any time on the verses.  I was on a retreat in Castroville, TX, with the men of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish of New Braunfels over the weekend when he passed away.  I knew he had been hospitalized several times, and finished the lyrics that weekend.  We heard of his passing that Saturday night the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday, the feast day he helped bring about in the church at the direction of our Lord to St.  Maria Faustina Kowalska, one of the first saints he canonized after becoming pope.

Although the chorus of the song was written with the Holy Father in mind, his legacy applies this to all servants of God, no matter how well known, or how obscure.   This song could be re-written a thousand times for the world’s unsung heroes: moms, dads, teachers, tax collectors and prisoners who have lived the gospel in whatever smal way they were able.  (I actually started re-writing the verses so they could apply to my mom, who went home a few months after the Holy Father, in November of 2005.  If haven’t finished those yet, but I’ll be sure to record that version when they gel a bit more). 

Here are the lyrics so far.  I hope to make get some audio recorded and posted some time in March. 

Welcome Home – (A Tribute to John Paul the Great)

Divine Mercy Sunday, I heard he was gone
He went calmly in the night
The Holy Father, the only one we’d ever known
A mirror to reflect the Savior’s light

And when I heard those church bells ringing out in Rome
I thought I heard the Father calling from the throne:

“Well done, my good and faithful servant
Thank you for carrying my cross
Come join the saints here in my presence
Welcome Home”

He taught us how to see Jesus in everyone
He built a culture of life
He taught us how to pray again
How to live and how to die

And when I heard those church bells ringing out in Rome
I thought I heard the Father calling from the throne:

Though the world mourns his passing
He is smiling up above
Dancin’ for the father, singin’ to the Savior,
Surrounded by the Spirit of  His love

“Well done, my good and faithful servant
Thank you for carrying my cross
Come join the saints here in my presence
Welcome Home”