Assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II
On May 13, 1981, there was an assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II.
The Pope was hit by four bullets from would-be assassin Mehmet Ali Ağca’s 9mm Browning Hi-Power semi-automatic pistol. One hit his right arm, another his left index finger, while the other two bullets lodged in his lower intestine. St. John Paul II was immediately rushed to the Gemelli hospital in Rome, while Ali Ağca and an accomplice were arrested.
It was touch and go as to whether the Pope’s life would be saved, but after numerous blood transfusions he finally pulled through.
As the pope took the hand of the gunman, he showed us that a Christian must forgive his enemies, even when they do not want forgiveness.
Our Lady’s Crown
After the assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II 13 May 1981, it appeared evident that it was “a mothers hand that guided the bullet’s path” enabling “the Pope in his throes” to halt “at the threshold of death” (Pope John Paul II, Meditation from the Policlinico Gemelli to the Italian Bishops, Insegnamenti, XVII, 1, 1061). On the occasion of a visit to Rome by the then Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, the Pope decided to give him the bullet which had remained in the jeep after the assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II, so that it might be kept in the shrine. By the Bishops decision, the bullet was later set in the crown of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
The crown was made from the wedding rings of Portuguese women. The statue which, since 13th June 1920, is venerated in the chapel of apparitions. It was solemnly crowned on the 13th May 1946 by Cardinal Masella and years later the bullet from the assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II was placed into the inside the crown. How remarkable that God had them design Our Lady’s crown in such a way whereby a hole was left, where one of the bullets would fit perfectly into it, some many years later.
To this day this crown adorns Our Lady’s statue at Fatima on special occasions, as a lasting reminder of the power of the Blessed Virgin’s protection for those who love her.